Most agree that an efficient and cost-effective design method involves using computer simulated models to determine the best materials to use. Rather than physical testing on a product, computer simulation allows simultaneous testing of all parts and materials that will be under stress.
Known as finite element analysis (FEA), it is an amazing tool of prediction. Using computer simulation, tests can be repeated over and over again without destroying any real materials. This is important in the aerospace and automotive industries in particular, where the costs for repetitive physical testing could be exorbitant. Even a simple physical test can only be performed once on a car bumper and then a new one is needed to repeat the test again. Software testing allows experiments to be executed multiple times without incurring additional costs or damaging materials. And most importantly, when the model is validated, many consider the simulation tests as reliable as actual physical testing.
OEMs find using computer simulations allows them to predict and anticipate the potential behavior of the final assembled materials. Using CAE can determine if it’s feasible to use a variety of materials without even having the materials on hand. For example, if an OEM wants to run a test on a full car with components bonded together instead of welded, it’s easier to run a simulation and find out where changes are needed. From there, they can make a design tweak and run the simulation again.
Material cards are crucial for testing
The key to performing simulations is the material card – a file that contains all the parameters for each material (i.e., metals, adhesives, etc.) used in the simulation testing. The basic function of a material card is that it enables computer models to conduct the FEA. The material card also describes how each material performs under different constraints. In this process, the computer model can stress the materials via simulation to see how they perform. When testing an adhesive between two metals, the material cards for each would be loaded so the metal could be modeled with each adhesive on it.
During a simulation, high stress areas are highlighted on the model. By identifying the stress points, the simulation can produce multiple tests on those areas to see how the material can withstand the stress. We can perform the required detailed, precise testing on an adhesive and then have that data used to create a material card. A different material card must be created for each adhesive. This ensures the unique characteristics of each potential adhesive is analyzed in stress situations. Automobile OEMs and aerospace manufacturers typically have the software to accept the information on the material cards and run these tests.
We have many adhesive material cards readily available and can work with you to produce data for additional adhesive offerings if necessary. Learn more about Parker LORD’s adhesive solutions.