Development of design tools for outer space structure


Image: AnalySwift’s Liang Zhang (left) and Wenbin Yu of Purdue’s College of Engineering stand in front of large-scale additive manufacturing equipment at Purdue’s Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center.
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Credit: (Photo provided by Wenbin Yu)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Achieving affordable space exploration will require lightweight structures for vehicles, solar panels and antennas. Lightweight materials will also be used for structural components such as pressure habitats, cryogenic tanks, landing gear and lattice cages.

The problem is that NASA envisions that many of these structures will be made from custom composite materials, but no design tool has been able to fully exploit the materials’ full potential. AnalySwift LLC, a commercial software provider affiliated with Purdue University, and Wenbin Yu, a professor at Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, are conducting research to create one. Yu is the lead researcher. Liang Zhang of AnalySwift and Xin Liu of the University of Texas at Arlington are co-investigators.

Allan Wood, president and CEO of AnalySwift, said existing design tools were developed for traditional composites, which have straight fibers. If an open area is needed inside a traditional composite structure, this is often done by creating a cutout after it is fabricated, which can compromise the integrity of the structure.

“Bespoke composites, also known as variable-thickness or tow composites, however, can be highly customized thanks to manufacturing improvements,” he said. “New robotic techniques can weave fibers around areas intended for openings, expanding design options while improving the overall properties of structures.”

AnalySwift has been awarded a one-year, $125,000 Phase I STTR contract from NASA for a project titled “An Efficient, High-Fidelity Design Tool for Advanced Customizable Composites”.

Yu said the project will benefit NASA and related agencies and industries by harnessing the potential of customizable composites to design better lightweight structures.

“The resulting efficient and high-fidelity design tool developed in this project will shorten the design and analysis period of customizable composite structures,” Yu said.

Wood said the design tool will have applications on Earth as well as in space, including aerospace, power and wind, automotive, marine and other industries.

“The tool could also lead to improved designs for high-performance, customizable structures like prosthetics, electronics, and sporting goods with reduced design cost and time,” he said.

About AnalySwift

AnalySwift LLC is a provider of composite simulation software, which enables an unprecedented combination of efficiency and accuracy, including multiphysics structural and micromechanical modeling. Built on cutting-edge academic technology, AnalySwift’s powerful solutions save orders of magnitude in computational time without loss of accuracy so users can consider more design options and get to the point faster. best solution. The technologies offer the accuracy of detailed 3D FEA at the efficiency of simple engineering models, reducing analysis time by orders of magnitude. SwiftComp is licensed from Purdue Research Foundation. VABS is accredited by Utah State University, Purdue University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Contact AnalySwift at [email protected]

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a leading public research institution that develops practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the past four years as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers groundbreaking research and groundbreaking discoveries. Committed to hands-on, online, real-world learning, Purdue provides transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. Find out how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer: Steve Martin, [email protected]

Sources: Allan Wood, [email protected]

Wenbin Yu, [email protected]

CAPTION: AnalySwift’s Liang Zhang (left) and Wenbin Yu of Purdue’s College of Engineering stand in front of large-scale additive manufacturing equipment at Purdue’s Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center. (Photo courtesy of Wenbin Yu)

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