Generation, Modification, and Analysis of Synthetic FRP Microstructures Based on Experimentally Observed Microstructures

Barsotti, E. John
Composite materials are becoming increasingly popular as building materials in a wide range of areas because of their high stiffness and strength; however, the source of variability in their material properties is not well understood. This could have drastic consequences given the risks associated with some of the areas in which they are used, such as the automobile and aerospace industries. The research project that I am currently working on seeks to predict the material properties of composites through analyzing their underlying microstructures, which are made up of glass or carbon fibers, only a few microns in diameter. The fibers can take on a variety of geometric configurations, meaning that microstructure characteristics can vary drastically. By creating computer models of microstructures and modifying them so that they contain statistically equivalent geometries to those of experimental microstructures, we can use finite element software such as ABAQUS to analyze obtain their mechanical properties. My focus has been on accurately rearranging the fibers to obtain statistical equivalence. The computer code that I wrote to do this has been proved successful for microstructures of varying dimensions and fiber morphologies. I am currently using it in tandem with ABAQUS to predict their mechanical properties.
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