Composite materials are a serious competitor for lightweight metals used in the aerospace and automotive industry. Fast production methods like thermo-folding, diaphragm forming or stamping can produce large numbers of CFRP components in a cost efficient way.
The weight saving benefits of carbon fiber composites have been keenly adopted by civil aviation, with over 50% in weight of modern designs coming from the carbon fiber components.
The rapid rise in demand for this new material has led to the development of fully automated manufacturing techniques, improving rate of production and repeatability of manufacture. However, this rapid development, combined with a constant drive for increased rate of manufacture from industry can result in the formation of critical defects in the more complicated structural components.
Nevertheless, process-induced defects such as wrinkling are frequently encountered, which disqualify the final product. A thorough understanding of the deformation behaviour of UD laminates is required to anticipate those defects, which is therefore one of the objectives in this research. Forming simulation tools can be employed in the product design phases to anticipate the defects observed, ultimately leading to a reduction in product development costs.