In this paper, a procedure is developed to design fiber reinforced polymer composite products to meet a set of target properties. This procedure is formulated as a two stage optimization problem. In the first stage, a solution is developed to the problem of finding the optimum fabric architecture, fiber volume fractions and matrix elastic properties of the composite using a composite property prediction tool. In the second stage, the matrix elastic properties, obtained from the first stage, combined with other matrix physical properties are used as target properties to design the polymer that forms the matrix of the composite. A computer-aided molecular design approach is used in this design step. A case study for the design of a chemical storage tank is included to illustrate the efficacy of the design procedure. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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