FEAMAC is a software package developed and released by NASA-GRC for the design and analysis of structures composed of arbitrary multiphase composite materials be they ceramic, metallic or polymer based and continuously or discontinuously reinforced. FEAMAC is unique in that it functions as a constitutive module within traditional finite element analysis (FEA) packages to enable efficient, multiscale, design and analysis of structures by providing the local (micro) response of each phase at all points in time and space.
The utility and importance of this new multiscale approach has been demonstrated in the design of a new more environmentally friendly and durable pneumatic radial tire. A specific spin-off application (in the automotive sector) that is being highlighted in this application is the design of new, more environmentally friendly and durable pneumatic radial tires. The fact hat FEAMAC can admit arbitrary, user-definable material constitutive models, is precisely what allowed incorporating and utilizing the strain-dependent constitutive model for the rubber constituent. FEAMAC was used in optimizing a composite laminate before implementing it in a tire: Due to the availability of this technology, a revolutionary tire belt design based on preliminary analysis using FEAMAC was accomplished. A test program was subsequently initiated in which tires were built, tested and compared against control tires. Laboratory data agreed well with the qualitative trends produced from FEAMAC and the associated detailed finite element analysis. Test results demonstrated a significant improvement (35-50%, see table) in life and all other attributes over that of the control tire. Consequently, a patent was allowed by the European Patent Office in the Netherlands and filed in 20 European states. In addition, a US patent was granted in addition to another patent that deals with unconventional manufacturing procedures for this tire.
Two batches of twenty-four tires were built in accordance with the new cord architecture determined using MAC and tested against the same number of conventional tires. The data of the inventive tire outperformed the conventional ones in all aspects. Finally, by enabling design and analysis on all scales within a structure, FEAMAC helps engineers to produce better composite structures, foster the introduction of advanced composite materials into a wide range of applications (e.g., aerospace propulsion and airframe systems, automotive, marine, electronic and medical industrial of sectors, to name a few), and provide the required analysis and design capability to describe accurately the structural response of components/structures composed of these materials so as to achieve breakthrough gains in performance and cost effectiveness. Case in point is the utilization of this new multiscale design/analysis paradigm to develop a new more environmentally friendly and durable pneumatic radial.