Software for virtual allowables development

MSC Software Co. subsidiary e-Xstream engineering, developer of Digimat, a nonlinear multi-scale material and structure modeling platform, announced at JEC its latest software solution, Digimat-VA.

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MSC Software Co. (Newport Beach, CA, US) subsidiary e-Xstream engineering, developer of Digimat, a nonlinear multi-scale material and structure modeling platform, announced at JEC its latest software solution, Digimat-VA. It's designed to replace and complement physical testing of composite materials with advanced simulation to allow on-the-fly allowables predictions. It combines a solution-oriented graphical user interface, efficient micromechanical modeling, accurate progressive failure analysis, nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) and uncertainty quantification.

Digimat-VA allows design engineers to virtually compare materials before going into a lengthy physical allowables test process. The software is designed to generate virtual coupons, apply loads and generate test results data, including statistical treatment for allowables computation. The user can choose from a database or define any material systems, a variety of layups, multiple test types and a variety of environmental conditions. e-Xstream engineering is working with Wichita State University's (Wichita, KS, US) National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) to validate Digimat-VA predictions. Validations indicate that prediction error within 10% is achievable. Initial focus has been on carbon fiber/epoxy combinations, but company officials say that the methodology is also applicable to continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics. It is powered by a nonlinear FEA solver coupled with Digimat multiscale material modeling, including Digimat progressive failure technology. 

Digimat-VA developers emphasize that the software is not designed to fully replace the physical testing used to develop allowables data. Instead, by generating virtual allowables, engineers can start the component design in parallel with physical allowables testing. Furthermore, it enables the user to explore material sensitivity to parameters variability and thus better understand the performance of composites. Digimat-VA, says e-Xstream, is a decision tool that allows exploration and experimentation at no cost; it allows the user to fine-tune material selection and more carefully decide what will be tested in the physical world.