Greg, I would think fatigue strength would be part of the simulated optimization process. I saw a presentation by a composites testing company. They were testing on behalf of the Canadian government, and fatigue strength was part of the list of tests required. So, I would think a composites vendor -- and those using the composite -- would have to look at the long-term life of the composite.
Good point Rob. Carefully selecting the primary parameter(s) to be optimized is also important. A development team may use simulation to optimize initial design cost and weight, when in fact fatigue strength might be the most important long term parameter to be optimized due to safety concerns.
Rob, simulation is definitely step 1 in making some amazing design changes happen. But this conference I attended really focused on optimization, and for good reason. The sophisticated optimization software I saw demonstrated in videos turns out to be the secret weapon behind the ability of aerospace and automotive companies to incorporate composites in their designs. Stay tuned for a blog talking about some of these successes.
Nice article, Ann. Last year I attended a conference that delivered a similar message, Siemen's CAE conference. Everything was about simulation. I saw presentations about the Mars Rover landing, hybrid car development, and composites testing, all using simulation. The reason given for this huge shift to simulation is the number-crunching power of new computers. When a calculation that used to take weeks now takes minutes, simulation becomes a much more usable tool.
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