According to Altair, the APA is a platform which “offers on-demand access to a broad spectrum of software applications from over 55 companies participating in the APA. Customers can leverage a wide range of software tools from a centralized source, helping them reduce time to market, increase intelligent design, and make smarter decisions faster.” The latest to join the APA, VABS is a general-purpose, cross-sectional analysis tool for computing beam properties, as well as 3D stresses and strains of slender composite structures, commonly called beams. As such, VABS is a beam theory which can achieve the fidelity of detailed 3-dimensional finite element analysis (3D FEA), but it saves orders of magnitude in computing time.
VABS offers a combination of efficiency and accuracy for composite beam modeling, enabling engineers to consider more design options and arrive at the best solution more quickly. Design and validation of structures through simulation also helps reduce reliance on costly and time-consuming experiments.
Allan Wood, president and CEO of AnalySwift, said:
“We are excited to join the APA and look forward to complementing the powerful capabilities available from Altair’s tools, particularly for users seeking to optimize accuracy and efficiency in their simulation of composite rotor blades and other advanced slender structures. Now in the APA, VABS is integrated with the Altair software suite, including the HyperMesh and OptiStruct products.”
Dr. Wenbin Yu, CTO of AnalySwift, said:
“A long-time tool of choice for rigorous simulation of composite helicopter and wind turbine rotor blades, VABS also quickly and accurately calculates sectional properties for propellers, wing sections, landing gear, golf club shafts, fishing rods, and prosthetics. It can also handle other slender composite structures such as tubes, columns, shafts, rods, bridges, and beams. Any industry that uses slender components made from composites can leverage the capabilities of VABS, specially aerospace, wind energy, automotive, sporting goods, construction, medical, defense, and electrical. Although VABS has applications for any slender structure made from composites, the program originated from a need by the US Army for a tool that could accurately model composite helicopter rotor blades. The problem with these blades lies in their complexity. For example, a rotor blade made from composites may have hundreds of thin layers, a length of ten meters, and chord length of half a meter. To get an accurate design, 3D FEA requires at least one solid element per layer, but the analysis becomes computationally prohibitive due to the billions of degrees of freedom involved. In fact, to get accurate torsional behavior and transverse shear stress, four to six elements per layer are required, not just one, rendering the computation impossible. To overcome this problem, engineers either resort to shell elements or use a smeared properties approach, in which they smear a stack of laminates to become a sort of “black aluminum” and treat it as a homogeneous material. Shell elements, however, don’t work well for this and using smeared properties compromises accuracy. VABS, on the other hand, overcomes the limitations of these approaches, only taking a few seconds to run on a typical laptop computer while accurately calculating the ply-level details of the blade. VABS works by rigorously decoupling the original 3D problem into a 2D cross-sectional analysis and 1D beam analysis. VABS handles the 2D cross-sectional analysis, which provides the structural and inertia properties for the beam analysis.”
VABS calculates structural properties such as torsional stiffness, bending stiffness, and all the couplings. These are needed by any beam analysis code to predict global static or dynamic behavior as well as recover the 3D displacements, stresses, and strains at the ply level. VABS can additionally be used independently for structural design of beam sections in terms of topology or materials. For example, VABS can be used to maximize torsional stiffness while maintaining a desired center of gravity. The program also includes multiple beam models for composites, including the Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko models, as well as the Vlasov model to deal with trapeze effect, oblique sections.
Companies: Composite Design Analysis Software
Industries: Other Composite End-use areas