Thompson, A. J.;Ivanov, D. S.;Potter, K. D.;Hallett, S. R.;Nixon-Pearson, O. J.;Belnoue, J. P. -H.;
Fiber waviness is one of the most significant defects that occurs in composites due to the severe knockdown in mechanical properties that it causes. This paper investigates the mechanisms for the generation of fiber path defects during processing of composites prepreg materials and proposes new predictive numerical models. A key focus of the work was on thick sections, where consolidation of the ply stack leads to out of plane ply movement. This deformation can either directly lead to fiber waviness or can cause excess fiber length in a ply that in turn leads to the formation of wrinkles. The novel predictive model, built on extensive characterization of prepregs in small-scale compaction tests, was implemented in the finite element software ABAQUS as a bespoke user-defined material. A number of industrially relevant case studies were investigated to demonstrate the formation of defects in typical component features. The validated numerical model was used to extend the understanding gained from manufacturing trials to isolate the influence of various material, geometric, and process parameters on defect formation.