This Meeting brings together leading researchers and end userswho are interested in the development of modelling methods applied to predicting the atomistic, microscopic and macroscopic response of composite materials under stress and hostile environment. It focuses on the structural and functional properties of engineering composites and the sustainable high performance of components and structures. The Meeting is integrated into multidisciplinary activities and will in the main be systems-based and problem-driven.
Predictive engineering design is the understanding and avoidance of all conceivable sources of weakness in the material and misfortune of structure. As always in science, advancement made brings new sets of great unknowns into sharper focus. A myriad of questions present themselves, about structural integrity, reliability of airframes, and performance limitations, for instance, that we can realistically hope to answer. Currently, the development of civil aerospace composite materials lacks proven test methodologies, reliable durability assessment techniques, and certification procedures to satisfy EASA and the FAA. In particular, the aerospace industry requires the formulation of new composite certification standards in tandem with evolving composite technology. The expectation is for materials to last longer and for structures to operate safely and reliably at increasingly higher stresses. Demand for new composite material systems means pushing the performance of the structure to its limit thereby stretching composite materials to their boundary of strength and endurance. Innovation in design and advancement in material “know-how” through discovery is no longer the single option. At the moment, we see airframes made from composites, arriving at the probability of a successful outcome of a safe design by using intuition and our experience of circumstances that we have encountered before. But if we are to imagine the future differently, disaster as an act of God or of bad luck has to go. Total safety is the only “show in town”.
Predictive modelling based on the physics of composite material behaviour is wealth generating; by guiding material system selection and process choices, by cutting down on experimentation and high costs; and by speeding up the time frame from the research stage to the market place. It is an important tool for industry with its exact role depending on the industrial sector involved. No longer is computer hardware or software a barrier to the deployment of predictive modelling.
Instead, with experience and the building of confidence we identify the right approach and application of appropriate calculations at the sensible level of sophistication to solve the correctly identified problem. Optimum material microstructures can be forecast and designed rather than found by trial and error (and the possibility of calamity) whilst maximising structural high performance and sustainable safe life.
Modelling and Optimization can take many forms, covering a combination of the variables below, depending on the technological need being addressed:
- design of optimal composite material systems and novel architectures - based upon an understanding of microstructure and properties;
- strategies for material selection and processing based on property requirements - mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical, thermal, etc;
- strategies for manufacturing: time, temperature, reaction-rates, pressure, etc;
- length scales - from the atomic to the macroscopic scale;
- time scale - from femtoseconds to 100 years and beyond;
- temperature range - from sub-zero to 2,500 C and above.