Simulating Bird Strike on Aircraft Composite Wing Leading Edge.

University essay from KTH/Hållfasthetslära (Inst.)

Author: Max Ericsson; [2012]

Keywords: ;


In this master thesis project the possibility to model the response of a wing when subjected to bird strike using finite elements is analyzed. Since this transient event lasts only a few milliseconds the used solution method is explicit time integration. The wing is manufactured using carbon fiber laminate. Carbon fiber laminates have orthotropic material properties with different stiffness in different directions. Accordingly, there are damage

mechanisms not considered when using metal that have to be modeled when using composites. One of these damage mechanisms is delamination which occurs when cured layers inside a component become separated. To simulate this phenomenon, multiple layers of shell elements with contact in between are used as a representation of the interface where a component is likely to delaminate.

By comparing experimental and simulated results the model of delamination is verified and the influence of different parameters on the results is investigated. Furthermore, studies show that modeling delamination layers in each possible layer of a composite stack is not optimal due to the fact that the global stiffness of the laminate is decreased as more layers are modeled. However, multiple layers are needed in order to mitigate the spreading of delamination and obtain realistic delaminated zones.

As the laminates are comprised of carbon fiber and epoxy sheets it is of importance to include damage mechanisms inside each individual sheet. Accordingly, a composite material model built into the software is used which considers tensile and compressive stress in fiber and epoxy. The strength limits are then set according to experimental test data.

The bird is modeled using a mesh free technique called Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics using a material model with properties similar to a fluid. The internal pressure of the bird model is linked to the change in volume with an Equation of State. By examining the bird models behavior compared to experimental results it is determined to have a realistic impact on structures.

A model of the leading edge is then subjected to bird strike according to European standards. The wing skin is penetrated indicating that reinforcements might be needed in order to protect valuable components inside the wing structure such as the fuel tank. However, the results are not completely accurate due to the fact that there is little experimental data

available regarding soft body penetration of composite laminates. As a consequence, the simulation cannot be confirmed against real experimental results and further investigations are required in order to have confidence in modeling such events. Furthermore, the delamination due to the bird strike essentially spreads across the whole model. Since only one layer of delamination is included the spread is most likely overestimated.

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