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Title: Optimisation of postbuckling stiffened composite structures
Author: Faggiani, Andrea
ISNI:       0000 0001 3456 1664
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2008
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The thesis starts off with an introductory chapter on composite materials. This includes a definition of composites, a brief history of composite materials, their use in aerostructures (primarily as stiffened structures), and also optimization of composite structures. A literature review is then presented on postbuckling stiffened structures. This includes both experimental investigations on stiffened composite panels and investigations into secondary instabilities and mode jumping as well as their numerical modelling. Next, the Finite Element (FE) modelling of posthuckling stiffened structures is discussed, relating how ABAQUS models are set up in order to trace stiffened composite panels' buckling and postbuckling responses. An experimental programme conducted on an I-stiffened panel is described, where the panel was tested in compression until collapse. The buckling and postbuckling characteristics of the panel are presented, and then an FE model is described together with its predicted numerical behaviour of the panel's buckling and postbuckling characteristics. Focus then shifts to the modelling of failure in composites, in particular delamination failure. A literature review is conducted, looking at the use of both the Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT) and interface elements in delamination modelling. Two stiffener runout models, representing two specimens previously tested experimentally, are then developed to illustrate how interface elements may be used to model mixed mode delamination. The previously discussed panel is revisited, and a global-local modelling approach used to model the skin-stiffener interface. FE models of a stiffened cylindrical shell are also considered, and again the postbuckling characteristics of the shell are compared with experimental results. . The thesis then moves on to optimization of composite structures. This starts off with a literature review of existing optimization methodologies. A Genetic Algorithm (GA) is devised to increase the damage resistance of the I-stiffened panel. The global-local ABAQUS model discussed earlier is used in conjunction with the GA in order to find a revised stacking sequence of both the panel flanges and skin so as to minimize skin-stiffener debonding subject to a variety of design constraints. A second optimization is then presented, this time linked to the FE model of the stiffened cylindrical shell. The objective is to increase the collapse load of the shell, again subject to specific design constraints. The thesis concludes by summarising the importance of the work conducted. FE models were created and validated against experimental work in order to model a variety of composite stiffened structures in their buckling and postbuckling regimes. These models were able to capture the failure characteristics of these structures relating to delamination at the skin-stiffener interface, a phenomenon widely observed experimentally. Various optimizations, able to account for failure mechanisms which may occur prior to overall structural collapse, were then conducted on the analysed structures in order to obtain more damage resistant designs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available