The main advantages of discontinuous fiber-reinforced polymers are low manufacturing costs, as well as the design freedom for complex geometries. Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) has become a highly sought-after material, not only for exterior parts in the automotive industry but even more so for structural applications through carbon fiber reinforced SMC. Its uses even extent to the aerospace industry for manufacturing complex shapes with high thermomechanical requirements.
For efficient product and process design within a digital product development cycle, the simulation of the manufacturing process through molding simulation is crucial. However, there is neither a widely accepted modeling approach nor a standardized characterization technique for material card creation.
SIMUTENCE is a spin-off company from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany with a strong background in SMC molding simulation through the International Research Training Group (IRTG) “Integrated engineering of continuous-discontinuous long fiber reinforced polymer structures”. One major result of the first phase of the IRTG in the context of SMC molding simulation was the thorough experimental investigation and modeling of SMC flow and the development of a suitable characterization approach for the creation of material cards for SMC molding simulation.
Together with Blackwave, located in Munich, Germany, an expert for the design and manufacturing of carbon fiber reinforced SMC (CSMC) components, we adopted our approach for SMC material card creation and molding simulation within a validation study. Two different CSMC materials from Astar and Polynt were characterized, material cards were created and molding simulation was validated for an aircraft rim. In the following, we present the SIMUTENCE approach for material card creation and related results from our joint validation project.