WIT Press

Durability Prediction Using Automatic Crack Growth Simulation In Stiffened Panel Structures


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WIT Press


S Mellings, J Baynham, R A Adey & T Curtin


Durability prediction using automatic crack growth simulation in stiffened panel structures S. Mellings1, J. Baynham1, R A Adey1 & T Curtin2 1Computational Mechanics BEASY, Ashurst Lodge, Southampton, UK 2Computational Mechanics Inc, Billerica, M, USA. Abstract A new method is presented for automatically predicting the growth of cracks in stiffened panel structures. The procedure simplifies the modelling of stiffened panels by allowing definition of beams and use of multiple overlapping boundary element zones joined by connector elements. Applications are presented to demonstrate the effect of the stiffeners on crack growth. 1 Introduction In order to be competitive aerospace companies need to produce cheaper, stronger, safer and more durable products. Environmental pressures have also highlighted the need to minimise the use of energy and the need for lighter vehicles. All these objectives have to be achieved while maintaining safety and durability. At the same time there is a worldwide trend towards operating aircraft beyond their initial design life thus dramatically increasing the possibility of reduction or loss of structural integrity. Durability and damage tolerance calculations are typically based on experimental data or analytical studies of simplified cases. In this paper, a new method is presented for representing stiffened structures made up of panels and beams attached at discrete points by fasteners. The method allows the user to initiate a crack in a model by selection from a library of crack shapes. The crack and structure are automatically meshed and the crack is grown fully automatically.