Generation of an optimized bio-inspired Bouligand design for the improvement of the impact strength of rigid composites
Composite laminates possess mechanical properties which are superior to metals and alloys in many respects, one of the most notable of which being impact strength due to the numerous applications it allows for. This could be attributed to both the materials which comprise these laminates and the way these materials are arranged within them. To further improve the performance of composite laminates, this study uses a biomimicry approach to improve the general structure, or arrangement, of a given composite laminate. This study creates an optimized Bouligand structure and compares it to standard designs used currently in the industry and designs generated by studies which used evolutionary algorithms. It was shown that the created design outperformed standard designs, the unidirectional design by a factor of 78.67% and the quasi-isotropic design by a factor of 45.48% – Both being designs commonly used today. In addition, the created design also outperformed all designs obtained from papers using evolutionary algorithms, by a factor ranging from 11.07% to 78.48%. First, this implies that the created structure could be readily used in applications today, having outperformed standard designs significantly; second, this would also greatly benefit future studies which aim to improve composite laminate performance, as the design created here could be used as base design which optimization algorithms could further optimize.