Simulation for plastics technology

Simulation is nowadays an indispensable tool for plastics technology. At IKV, modern simulation methods are researched, developed and deployed to significantly reduce iterations and prototype trials, to evaluate the technical feasibility and performance of new products and processes in advance, to exploit the potential of the plastics to the full, and to optimise parts and processing methods to enable continuous virtual product development.

In doing this, we tackle various boundary conditions, such as the complex behaviour of the plastics under a wide variety of different loads, we keep a close eye on the latest innovations in materials and production processes, and we examine the ever-present pressure on time and costs.

We carry out research in the field of simulation with the focus on the following aspects:

  • Process simulation
    Process simulation is used at IKV for the virtual simulation of processing processes. This enables us to design and evaluate tools and machines before carrying out the first experiments. One example is the simulation of the injection moulding process, from which it is possible to determine among other things the required pressure, potential weld seams, fibre orientations or the need for heating/cooling.
  • Structural simulation
    In a structural simulation, we simulate the behaviour of the part while in use with the aim of optimising design and selecting the right material(s). Load and temperature vs. time are just as important here as the internal properties of the material. The results we obtain provide data, for example, on deformations, stresses, damage or failure points, and failure profiles.
  • Integrative simulation chains
    In integrative simulation chains, we link process and part simulation via interfaces developed in-house. As a result, the process-related material properties can be taken into account during part simulation, for example the direction-dependent mechanical properties of short glass fibre-reinforced components.
    Multi-step simulations are also being developed at IKV, which can transfer, for example, the temperature distribution from a heating-up simulation to the mechanical forming simulation of the stretch blow moulding process.

 

Dr.-Ing. Suveni Kreimeier

Head of departement Part Design and Materials Technology +49 241 80-28359 suveni.kreimeier@ikv.rwth-aachen.de

The components of a simulation – Material know-how and numerics

IKV's research activities in the field of simulation are focused on the development and refinement of simulation methods and their validation on applications likely to be encountered in practice. The aim of the work is to transfer the scientific findings obtained about the material and its processing into application-related simulation tools.

The basis for any simulation is the material-related and load-related simulation of the material behaviour in material models. These models are calibrated on the basis of detailed material testing, which we carry out ourselves. We are just as familiar with the possibilities and limitations of the numerical processes as we are with the strengths and weaknesses of the different simulation tools.

The combination of material and process know-how and numerics forms the basis for IKV's strength in the field of simulation. At IKV, we research all the steps of a successful simulation under one roof – from building the model to interpreting the results.

Ongoing research projects in the field of simulation

  • Multi-scale simulation of the solidification of plastic melts
  • LFT crash: integrative simulation chain for mapping the deformation and failure behaviour of LFT
  • Acoustic simulation of anisotropic short fibre-reinforced thermoplastics
  • Damage behaviour of FRP under cyclical load with reversal of load direction
  • Fibre-reinforced plastics for bodywork components