One option is to use generic properties for a similar composite from already published data. This is fine if one is considering a fairly common composite, such as an aerospace certified unidirectional carbon/epoxy prepreg. But what if one is intending to use a combination of a dry textile, e.g. woven carbon fibre, with a certain resin system and one of various closed mould production processes? The various permutations and combinations of material and processing variables mean that the likelihood of finding a sufficiently broad and relevant source of data is very low.
In the frequent scenario where one does not have sufficient experimental data multiscale modelling of the material may provide an effective starting point. Experimental testing has an obvious appeal, but is time consuming and expensive. On the other hand, mutliscale modelling allows for ‘virtual’ experimental testing. Of course, the validity of any virtual test is in turn base on the validity of the models, material properties and methods used therein. FAC Technology approaches this task from both perspectives. Extensive and ongoing testing of a range of materials and processes provides us with a database of properties. We also use this data to benchmark various modelling approaches to establish their efficacy and limitations. This work allows us to reduce the amount of experimental testing needed, especially in the early design stages.