Li, Y., Chen, Z., Xu, H., Dahl, J. et al., "Modeling and Simulation of Compression Molding Process for Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) of Chopped Carbon Fiber Composites," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 10(2):130-137, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-0228.
Compression molded SMC composed of chopped carbon fiber and resin polymer which balances the mechanical performance and manufacturing cost presents a promising solution for vehicle lightweight strategy. However, the performance of the SMC molded parts highly depends on the compression molding process and local microstructure, which greatly increases the cost for the part level performance testing and elongates the design cycle. ICME (Integrated Computational Material Engineering) approaches are thus necessary tools to reduce the number of experiments required during part design and speed up the deployment of the SMC materials. As the fundamental stage of the ICME workflow, commercial software packages for SMC compression molding exist yet remain not fully validated especially for chopped fiber systems. In the present study, SMC plaques are prepared through compression molding process. The corresponding simulation models are built in Autodesk Moldflow with the same part geometry and processing conditions as in the molding tests. The output variables of the compression molding simulations, including press force history and fiber orientation of the part, are compared with experimental data. Influence of the processing conditions to the fiber orientation of the SMC plaque is also discussed. It is found that generally Autodesk Moldflow can achieve a good simulation of the compression molding process for chopped carbon fiber SMC, yet quantitative discrepancies still remain between predicted variables and experimental results.