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Towards the development of a digital twin for a CFRP composite sub-element used in space applications

Implementation progress
25 November 2020

Duration: 36 months


The overall idea is to reduce the amount of physical testing currently associated with the sub-element and component levels of the traditional certification “pyramid” via predictive virtual testing and qualification of a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) sub-element used for typical space applications, e.g. a strut, thin wall shell structure or secondary bonded composite assembly. The approach will be to develop static and dynamic mechanical test protocols for the sub-element, ranging from low-cycle and high stress amplitude (fatigue) to high-cycle with low stress amplitude (vibration). Testing will be undertaken on pristine and defective or damaged materials/sub-elements. A baseline numerical finite element model of the pristine sub-element will be created that will be used as the basis for a digital twin of the real component. In the first instance the model will be created for a pristine sub-element and validated/refined using available material properties and the results of the baseline experimental characterisation. The model will then be developed to include defects or damage and prediction of damage progression. In order to refine the prediction of damage progression, suitable non-destructive inspection and sensing (embedded or surface mounted) techniques will be employed to accurately assess the ongoing state of damage within the sub-element. The data from the NDI and sensing trials will be used to feedback into the digital twin model to more accurately predict the actual performance of the structure.

Contract number
OSIP Idea Id
Related OSIP Campaign
Open Channel
Main application area
Generic for multiple space applications