HyperSizer v6 structural sizing and analysis software can help reduce structure weight while maintaining strength and improving manufacturability, especially for complex composite and metallic designs. Developed and proven at NASA, the software—the first commercialized by the agency—has a track record of 20% weight reduction in high-profile government and commercial aerospace projects.
Composites have gained wide acceptance and validation in aerospace applications while accelerating growth in a variety of industries. Their weight-to-strength properties promote fuel efficiency and allows hitting energy targets without impacting durability. “One of the biggest roadblocks to effective composite design is the inability of engineers to adequately explore optimized layups simultaneously with other design variables,” says Collier Research President Craig Collier. “This results in design inefficiencies and compromises.”
To address the issues, HyperSizer works with FEA solvers in a continuous, iterative loop, conducting trade studies and examining millions of potential design candidates down to the ply, even element level. The software ensures structural integrity through an extensive suite of failure analysis predictions that are validated to test data. The tool also enhances manufacturability by minimizing ply drops, identifying and controlling laminate transition drop/add boundaries, and defining best ply shapes and patterns. Hypersizer can be used from preliminary design to final analysis.
New features in HyperSizer v6 include:
- Manufacturability optimization – To help design for efficient manufacturing, the software can now identify, define, and control ply-count compatibility, laminate sequencing, interleaving, and ply-drop minimization. This results in fewer processing steps, cost-effective layups, and a faster turnaround in the mold.
- Post-buckling analyses – Automated compression, shear, and compression-shear post-buckling analyses have been added. These are based on complex NASA-developed methods that serve as the foundation for metal aircraft design. Integrated with flexural-torsional buckling, these let engineers cut weight in aluminum skin airframes. Such analyses, difficult to perform with nonlinear FEA alone, have been extended to composite material systems as well.
- Panel Concepts – Two novel, damage-tolerant composite architectures are now available, providing more structural sizing variables and optimization flexibility: Prseus is a Boeing, NASA, and Air Force Research Lab-developed dry-fabric woven material poltruded rod structure, while “reinforced core sandwich” is an alternative sandwich panel similar to foam sandwich. Specialized analyses for both these panel concepts have been implemented and correlated to test data established for accurate strength predictions.
Serving as the analysis hub and automating data transfer during design and manufacturing cycles, HyperSizer integrates with FEA software, such as Nastran and Abaqus, and with composite CAD tools, such as Catia and FiberSIM. HyperSizer ensures that design and analysis departments are kept current and working with the same design data.
“Given the increasing emphasis on more complex materials, engineers must improve and automate their design processes to reach higher levels of efficiency,” says Collier. “It’s no longer good enough to spot-check. Each part must be examined as a system. HyperSizer lets engineers more fully explore the entire design space.”
“It’s challenging to cut weight while maintaining strength and controlling cost,” says Tom Ashwill, technical leader in Sandia National Laboratories Wind Energy Technology Department. “HyperSizer has the capability to systematically optimize placement of a variety of different materials throughout the blade to maximize load resistance and minimize weight and thus cost.”
Collier Research Corporation