New VCCT for ABAQUS Implements Boeing Technology

13 May 2005

Abaqus have implemented Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT) to its design software to predict failure and fracture in composite parts.

Abaqus Inc, provider of software, technology and services for advanced finite element analysis (FEA), have completed a new add-on capability for the Abaqus software suite called VCCT for Abaqus, and is an add-on to the latest version of the software (version 6.5).

The new Abaqus software is designed to be a comprehensive implementation of the Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT), a technology that Boeing developed for predicting fracture and failure in laminated composite materials.

VCCT for Abaqus is an important new analysis technology for aerospace engineering and for other industries that design and manufacture high-performance composite components. Composites are becoming more widespread as an engineering material in applications where strength is crucial and reductions in product weight offer a market advantage. In the aerospace industry, for example, manufacturers are using composites to lower the weight of aircraft to help carriers save on fuel costs.

“Accurate prediction of crack growth in composite parts is required for aerospace engineering,” says Dr. Hyonny Kim, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University. “Fracture mechanics analysis involves complex calculations that allow us to determine when a composite structure will fail and whether a crack will propagate. The latest VCCT capability in Abaqus helps engineers predict failure in composite parts so they can create designs that are more damage tolerant.”

VCCT for Abaqus accurately simulates delamination in composite structures. The software allows engineers to identify the overall load at which a crack initiates and to predict the behaviour of the structure as the crack propagates. VCCT for Abaqus also helps users understand the stability and load-carrying capacity of the composite structure after failure, a vital assessment for ensuring the durability and damage-tolerance of aerospace components.

“This implementation of VCCT will help extend virtual testing of composite structures throughout Boeing and its supplier community,” said Rod Dreisbach, Senior Technical Fellow and Vice Chairman of the Boeing Technical Fellowship at The Boeing Company. “With Abaqus as a platform for VCCT, we can continue to explore innovative composite designs for future aerospace projects.”

“ Abaqus appreciates our productive working relationship with Boeing, which has brought to market the first high-quality commercial implementation of VCCT,” said Ken Short, vice president of marketing at Abaqus. “VCCT for Abaqus is a powerful and practical tool for accurately predicting the performance of advanced composites structures.”

The implementation of Boeing's VCCT technology is unique to ABAQUS. Together with the other technology that ABAQUS has developed for fracture and failure analysis, VCCT for ABAQUS provides the most complete functionality for analyzing and understanding the stiffness, strength, damage tolerance, and residual strength of bonded composite structures.

The image shows a deflected shape of an aircraft skin-stringer panel, showing buckling from a shear force applied along the diagonal. The refined mesh near the centre of the stringer component indicates the location of an initial bond defect (modelled as an initially unbonded region) between stringer and skin from which crack propagation initiates. The colour contours indicate surfaces that delaminate and debond due to active loading. In this example, VCCT for Abaqus helps determine the load-carrying capacity of the structure by revealing how panel buckling drives crack propagation.

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