Creative Composites, Engenuity Ltd, University of Warwick and Simutence will be working together with Spirit AeroSystems (Belfast) within the NATEP programme, funded by BEIS via the ATI, to develop a new software solution to predict the structural performance of SMC composite materials and enable their use in aerospace applications. SMC is a discontinuous fibre material commonly used for performance automotive applications and its carbon fibre reinforced variants (known as C-SMC) can have higher specific strength and stiffness than aluminium. This material and process offers lower cost solutions at high volume in comparison to traditional continuous CFRP.
The consortium will develop a software tool that can accurately predict the variable behaviour of these materials taking into account the effect of flow during moulding. The consortium aims to bridge the gap in predictive analysis and expose the aerospace industry to more applications that can benefit from this technology. The project will include the design optimisation and manufacture of a structural aircraft component to validate the new software and demonstrate how it can enable C-SMC to compete with conventional aerospace materials.