Collier Research releases rapid-optimization software for composite designs

HyperSizer Express helps composite engineers in many different industries optimize their designs. This user-friendly tool employs key capabilities based on decades of advanced aerospace software development by Collier Research Corporation.

HyperSizer Express helps engineers optimize composite designs, such as for wind-turbine blades. This user-friendly tool employs key capabilities based on decades of advanced aerospace software development.

NASA-born Collier Research, a leader in the field of aerospace composites and metals optimization for more than 20 years, has released HyperSizer Express, software that delivers the key capabilities of Collier’s high-end HyperSizer tool in a user-friendly package for composite engineers.

“Not every designer or engineer working with composites needs all the options in the professional version of our software,” says Collier Founder and President Craig Collier. “But they do want the robustness of a proven, core analytical code running underneath, from the very early stages of their design process. HyperSizer Express provides all that — and it’s fast and easy to use as well.”

Collier notes that 95% of users can, without a manual or instruction, import their finite element model (FEM) into Express and produce optimum composite laminates that satisfy all analyses to all load cases within 30 minutes. The automatically updated model will arrive at the minimum weight with global plies identified, layer by layer, producing fully manufacturable laminate designs.

“This kind of nonparametric optimization in Express is one reason it is so easy to use,” says Collier. “You don’t have to put in constraints or minimum or maximum values. You just say, ‘I 2 want to make this out of carbon fiber,’ or ‘I want to make this out of fiberglass,’ and the software will show you the optimum solution based on your FEM.”

Express is even more tightly coupled to FEA programs (such as NASTRAN and Abaqus) than is the Pro version.

“Tight FEA coupling is key for the types of mechanical response analyses an engineer would carry out with Express,” says Collier. “These are driven primarily by bending stiffness, which requires a direct interaction with FEA solutions when optimizing laminate stackings.”

Applications include turbine blades in the wind industry and for industrial uses, such as for robotic end effectors.

The Express interface guides the user through the entire analysis process in a highly intuitive manner, step-by- step. Checkboxes on the status console confirm current progress—from model import through material selection, FEA solver choice, selection of failure and design criteria, laminate optimization and sequencing, and analysis results (controlling load case, failure mode, safety factors, and update of FEM with optimal laminates).

The Express interface guides the user through the analysis process in a highly intuitive manner. Checkboxes on the status console confirm current progress—from model import through material selection, FEA solver choice, selection of failure and design criteria, laminate optimization and sequencing, and analysis results (controlling load case, failure mode, safety factors, and update of FEM with optimal laminates).

“The capabilities meet the needs of a broad range of composite engineers who work with laminates,” says Collier.

Express and Pro products are both being used at large OEMs. Some parts are completely designed, analyzed, and certified with Express and others parts may first be done in Express, then handed off to Pro to do stiffened panels or bolted and bonded joints.

“When using Express you get the same exact margins of safety and the same exact material allowables as our Pro version intended for the aerospace industry, with 25 years of maturity and verification behind it,” says Collier. “But now it’s wrapped in a new interface streamlined for more efficient composite design optimization.”

The transition from Express to Pro is seamless because the two programs share the same database. “Should you want to go to the Pro level later, all the data you’ve entered and computed with Express will be intact so you can see everything you’ve done so far,” he says. While Express is primarily aimed at the composite engineer, it does provide capabilities for metals optimization as well. “You can quickly identify the performance with a different metal, such as aluminum or steel.”

Collier adds: “Optimization has become an essential tenet of engineering. “But there are still so many people out there who are not doing any optimization at all,” he says. “Our aim is to support them with a user-friendly, practical tool that works for every engineer.”

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