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Composite Materials/modeling short-fiber composite materials

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Question
Dear Dr. Barbero,

I have a very basic question if you don't mind.  I would like to know whether it is possible (and practical) with current technology to model and analyze 3D injection-molded, short-fiber-reinforced plastic structures.  If yes, I would like to know what types and combinations of products would be required to accomplish this goal.
 
For example, we currently have licenses to Abaqus and Moldflow, and are considering acquiring Converse.  I am concerned that these tools still may not be sufficient for our particular purposes, due to the fact that our structures are three-dimensional with discontinuous fiber reinforcement (we currently use tetrahedral elements and assume isotropic material properties).  It is my understanding that special composite elements would be required to properly model such structures and I am doubtful that such elements exist for this case.    

Thank you in advance for whatever information you can provide.

Sincerely Yours,

Mr. Kelly Londry
Senior CAE Engineer
Huf North America Automotive Parts Manufacturing Corp.

Answer
I am a bit out of my comfort zone with this question because I never attempted to do what you want to do. In general terms, you need 2 things. 1) a way to predict the orientation of the fibers, and 2) a way to put those orientations into the model. For #2 I know how to do with Abaqus but it is not trivial. For #1 I want to recommend someone else, but cannot put the contact info publicly here. Please contact me by email. Go to http://barbero.cadec-online.com to reveal my email address and send me the question there. thanks.  

Composite Materials

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Ever Barbero

Expertise

Structural Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, Structural Analysis, Material Modeling (numerical, analytical), Testing (mechanical, aging, etc.) of Composites and Polymers, mainly Polymer Matrix and to lesser extent Materials Science and Processing of same. See http://mysite.verizon.net/everbarbero/

Experience

Working with Composites since 1983, two patents.

Organizations
Fellow, Society for the Advancement of Materials Process Engineering SAMPE
Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASME
Member, American Society for Testing Materials ASTM
Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA
Member, American Society of Engineering Education ASEE

Publications
100+ peer reviewed papers on every major journal on composites and mechanics
Introduction to Composite Materials Design, ISBN: 1-56032-701-4, http://www.mae.wvu.edu/barbero/icmd/
Finite Element Analysis of Composite Materials, ISBN: 1-4200-5433-3, http://www.mae.wvu.edu/barbero/feacm/

Education/Credentials
PhD Engineering Science, 1989, Virginia Tech.
BSME, BSEE, 1983, UNRC.

Education/Credentials
PhD Engineering Science, 1989, Virginia Tech.
BSME, BSEE, 1983, UNRC.

Awards and Honors
SAMPE Fellow (2006).
ASME Fellow (2003).
Best Overall Paper Award, Combined Composite Expo’99 and ASCE Materials Conference’99, Cincinnati, OH.
Best Paper Award, 1999 ASME J. of Composites for Construction, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 185-191.
MAE Alumni Academy Award for Outstanding Teaching, 1999.
SAMPE Faculty Advisor Award 1998.
Researcher of the Year, College of Engineering, WVU, 1996.
Outstanding Researcher Award, College of Engineering, WVU, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999.
Best Advanced-Composite Paper Award, Composite Institute, Society of the Plastic Industry, 1994.
Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award, College of Engineering, WVU, 1992.

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