Can a composite forming limit diagram be constructed?

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Can a composite forming limit diagram be constructed?

Host Institution: University of Cambridge

Lead Investigator: Jin Zhou, Michael Sutcliffe


This feasibility study on composite forming, explores wrinkling issues during draping of non-crimp fabric (NCF) and the possibility of constructing a composite forming limit diagram. The timeliness of the project arises from the urgent need from a wide range of industries to improve their simulation capability for pre-forming of dry fabric and pre-preg. Wrinkling during draping of non-crimp fabric will be measured using the Digital Image Correlation (DIC) method and modelling work will be undertaken using finite element analysis in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. The current research will provide clear guidelines for assessing wrinkle formation. The proposed work complements existing activity within the CIMComp program on forming of composites, providing a framework to fit experiments and modelling of deformation and wrinkling.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of developing a forming limit diagram for textile composites, capturing the limits imposed by defects such as macro-wrinkling, tow level buckling and yarn sliding.

The key objectives of the project are to

  1. Use existing measurements of wrinkle formation in woven and NCF fabrics to develop a preliminary FLD;
  2. Extend the range of test configurations to explore the generality of the derived FLDs;
  3. Examine the feasibility of using a range of canonical finite element calculations to interpolate and extrapolate the FLD from a limited set of tests;
  4. Use the results to inform a full-scale proposal which will develop the concept of FLDs to include a wider range of materials and forming situations.


  1. A preliminary literature review has been informed by a review of wrinkling in textile forming.
  2. Preliminary tests have used DIC to measure strains during draping of non-crimp fabric.
  3. Finite element modelling has been used to simulate the existing experimental work and to implement a user-defined fabric subroutine in Abaqus/Explicit.
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