The design process of composite structures involves tasks that require special attention and which are not typically covered by general finite element simulation tools. For instance, the number of available material systems is huge. Eventually the actual structural properties are created in the design phase by the selection material combinations, selection of structural concept, such as solid laminate, sandwich structure, or stiffened panel, and through laminate lay-up design by utilizing the directional properties of composite materials. This means that emphasis should be put on the preliminary design phase to limit the choice of design parameters to a manageable degree early enough in the process. Further in the design process, the assessment of composite failure modes and improvement of lay-up designs are tasks that may require use of dedicated composite simulation tools.
ESAComp software, which is available through the Altair Partner Alliance, has been developed to address the above described tasks in the composite design process and hence complements the capabilities of the general FEA tools. The development of ESAComp was initiated in the early 1990’s by the European Space Agency (ESA) to meet especially the needs of the space industry, but the customer base covers today practically all industries utilizing high-performance composites. The software suite covers features from materials database to laminate analyses and further to analyses of structural elements such as beams, panels and joints, and advanced features such as probabilistic analyses, all combined under a unified graphical user interface. The possibility to exchange data with finite element software guarantees smooth workflow in the design process.
ESAComp interfaces bi-directionally with HyperWorks applications. Laminate and material data can be transferred to HyperMesh as solver decks for NASTRAN (RADIOSS Bulk, OptiStruct), ANSYS and Abaqus user profiles. For some user profiles HyperMesh comments are supported to provide seamless exchange. The data exchange between HyperWorks and ESAComp utilizes H3D database files. Thus, post-processing with advanced failure criteria can be executed in ESAComp and the results transferred back to HyperView for viewing over the model geometry, while ESAComp itself provides means for viewing detailed through-the-thickness plots of the data in selected locations. The integration fosters efficiency by allowing the use of best suitable tools in the different phases of the design process with troublefree data exchange.
ESAComp to HyperWorks export allows laminate and material data to be transferred to OptiStruct, RADIOSS, NASTRAN and other user profiles.