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Advanced Structures & Materials

Annual Plan

Advanced Manufacturing of composites using Robotic fiber placement, Novel Multi-material Joining, and Integrated Sensors.

Project Summary

Principal Investigators

  • Mahmood Haq, Lalita Udpa, Satish Udpa, Gary Cloud (co-PI), Michigan State University


  • Oleksii Karpenko, Chandra Kishore Reddy Emani, Saurabh Gupta, Syed Hassan, Michigan State University


  • Abdifitah Adan, Matthew Ajlouny, Thomas Bonnen, Garrett Colasinski, Emily Koles, James Kulas, Arinc Kuloglu, Raghavendra Parali, Alexander Kepreos, Ciaron Hamilton, Michigan State University


  • Venkatesh Babu, Vamshi M Korivi, US Army GVSC

Project began Q4 2022.

Advanced fiber reinforced polymer composites have seen a rapid increase in their use in automotive applications in the last few years as they offer the best route for light-weighting along with enhancements in fuel-efficiency, safety, and superior thermo-mechanical properties. Still, their use has been relatively limited to proof-of-concept vehicles and low-volume automotive production due to manufacturing processes that require long curing cycles. Further, as reported by the Vehicle Technology Division of the US Department of Energy [1], the bottlenecks for composite vehicle adoption include: (1) a lack of cost-effective systems and designs, including tooling and high-volume processing, (2) a lack of ductility of fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) with respect to stable failure, fracture modes, and energy absorption, (3) a lack of tools for predictive engineering and analysis, and (4) a lack of dependable joining technology for the integration of composite components into the body structure. In addition, the lack of structural health monitoring systems that can allow for ‘cradle-to-grave’ monitoring is essential to ensure the quality control during manufacturing and health monitoring during service.

The research questions associated with this work are as follows:

  1. Can we have rapid, repeatable, and high-quality structural composites manufacturing that eliminates long curing times?
  2. Can we integrate health monitoring sensors during manufacturing to allow for process monitoring while simultaneously using them for structural health monitoring during service?
  3. Can we integrate ADAS sensors within composite body without sacrificing structural performance and not diminishing the efficacy of the ADAS sensors?
  4. Can we have rapid assembly, dis-assembly and re-assembly of critical structural components in the vehicle to enable rapid maintenance, and reduce down time.

To address the above challenges, we will:

  1. utilize novel, robotic tailored fiber alignment-based manufacturing of composites that can enable the use of both thermoplastic and thermoset matrices along with a wide range of fibers. Carbon fiber reinforcement will be our primary choice for this application;
  2. incorporate non-destructive evaluation tools to monitor both the processing (quality control) and health monitoring (in-service) of the vehicle;
  3. use advanced structural joining techniques such as reversible adhesive bonding and hybrid fasteners to integrates sub-components into the body structure
  4. integrate sensors required by the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) such as Lidar, cameras and radar antennas, sensors required by the control and stability system, and communication devices within the body of the vehicle, all non-saliently at appropriate locations.

We will experimentally validate all of the above tasks for structural efficiency at the material and structural level prior to integrating them into the body of the vehicle. In addition, we will develop and experimentally validate predictive engineering and analysis tools to enable virtual prototyping of the vehicle.