Design Engineering
Showcase 2022

Lightweight Design for Manufacturing (Imperial College London)

Composites Forming
Material Characterisation Experiments

Project Details

Xingtong Chen
DBDE/Design Engineering
Undergradue Research Assistant
Manufacturing and Materials

The research group of Lightweight Design for Manufacturing focuses on real industrial needs of designing and manufacturing high-performance and lightweight vehicle structures amid the global campaign of reducing carbon emissions.

My main research focus in the group are: development of innovative, energy-efficient manufacturing processes for lightweight structures, with a particular focus on stamp forming high-strength, complex-shaped panel components at elevated temperatures, using continuous Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastics; fundamental research on materials testing and modelling under complicated forming conditions.

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Role and Contributions

I have been asked to specifically participate in two projects: One on Experimental characterisation of the thermo-mechanical properties of carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTPs) and another one on constitutive modelling of the intra-ply deformation properties of CFRTPs under solid-state stamp forming conditions.

During my placement, the industrial design modules allowed me to rapidly iterate various design approaches, whilst for the latter the finite element analysis (FEA) and optimisation are applied to the process of manufacturing.

My main contributions to the group are:

1) Development of a novel resistance heating method for CFRTPs: A resistance heating process is designed to create a special temperature distribution with composite laminates, improving the performance during stamp forming processes. This design directly saved time and energy during the forming process as well as achieving simultaneous heating and forming in one step. It also relates to the research group’s objectives, satisfying the actual industrial needs of manufacturing with higher energy efficiency and eventually fewer carbon emissions.

2) Automated data processing for modelling studies: Instead of manual operations of the simulation software, programming using python was applied to the Abaqus software to simplify the procedure into only one step, advancing the modelling process much faster.

Output 300 Chen Elaine Chen
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