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Staking a Place in Space - a Landmark Achievement in the Aerospace Industry

Using composite materials can be risky, especially when the end-product is subject to high-intensity stresses and need to comply with stringent certification requirements. Fortunately, there is a solution that enables you to identify the best suited composite material and confidently design and build your product to achieve the optimum performance and quality, while improving your bottom line.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
By Ignatius Vaz

The aerospace industry has been striving to find a tool that can accurately predict acoustic and vibration responses in the intense diffuse acoustic field of a rocket launch, which can compromise the integrity of both the spacecraft and protective fairing, along with sensitive ground-based equipment.

Accurate models ensure the integrity of vital launch equipment subjected to the high-intensity acoustic field experienced during the launch process. Space Structures was fully aware that modeling launch acoustic conditions using traditional calculation methods relies on assumptions that can lead to inaccurate results, conservative decisions, and overlooking possible frequency dependency of the responses. They understood that they needed an advanced simulation methodology when designing structures for vibro-acoustic loading, such as for the development of a multi-functional panel for large satellites under European Space Agency (ESA) contract.

Using ESI VA One, Space Structures created predictive vibro-acoustic models, making it possible to quickly and accurately simulate carbon fiber composite interlayer stresses. They were able to perform the necessary calculations and analyses to support and optimize their designs. As a result, Space Structures received a high return on investment and increased customer satisfaction.

The aerospace industry previously relied on trial-and-error testing as well as test results from legacy designs, which provided little opportunity for design optimization. The realization of the need for advanced simulation came during the development of a multi-functional panel for large satellites. Space Structures’ project incorporated a new, cutting-edge technology that reduced uncertainties and risks. Overall, the uncertainty was related to the inability to verify during the design phase the appropriate strength of the structure to withstand the acoustic pressure of a launch sequence.

Space Structures was the first ESI customer to successfully perform a boundary element method (BEM) model with more than 250,000 nodes, which was a landmark achievement unthinkable in the industry just 10 short years ago. In addition, Space Structures was able to predict interlayer stresses of carbon fiber composites, and meet design targets by reinforcing sandwich composite parts subject to high acoustic loading. By adopting the simulation tool, they have expanded their business and now have a customer service department that conducts analytical verification and design optimization of spacecraft structures, including vibro-acoustic simulation. The company realized a high return on investment and saw rising levels of customer satisfaction. Moving forward, Space Structures intends to continue improving design structures for all acoustic noise environments.

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Ignatius Vaz

Business Development Manager

Ignatius Vaz has several years of experience with a focus in the aerospace industry, leading the design of anti-vibration and noise attenuation packages for several aircraft and rotorcraft OEMs, VIP business jets and space companies. He previously led a team in materials, design, simulation, manufacturing, certification, and installation of aircraft noise mitigation kits. Ignatius received a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering and has worked in the field of NVH and vibro-acoustics supporting not only aerospace but also automotive, marine and heavy industry sectors. Ignatius is currently supporting the business development efforts for ESI Group’s Virtual Prototyping solutions.