Dassault Systemes (DS) offers a wide portfolio of engineering technology solutions, including the Abaqus family of finite element analysis (FEA) products. One of the most advanced is Abaqus and its co-simulation engine (CSE). CSE allows multiple physical representations to be simulated simultaneously (physical/mechanical, electrical, and electronic) by dynamically interoperating multiple related models. DS recently demonstrated how these tools have been used in testing the safety of bicycle helmets. The results have been quite startling, with many designs quite poor when tested for high-impact crashes due to air gaps between the interior material and the skull. The simulations indicate how safer helmets can be built. DS Abaqus CSE was able to simulate the complexity of the different materials that comprise the helmet and vehicle, as well as the impact on the head.
Simulations demonstrate improved bicycle helmet designs
DS held an industry analyst day in June 2016 where it showcased a number of its technologies. Reza Sadeghi, CSO of Biovia, demonstrated the CSE results on simulated crash tests with bicycle helmets. Helmet simulations by DS show that the best protection is offered by a design that closely follows the contours of the head, like a skull cap, with minimal air gaps. The type of leather helmet worn by airplane pilots and motorcycle riders in the 1930s is a good example of this type of design.
Current bicycle helmet manufacturers do not produce helmets to withstand high-impact collisions, such as with vehicles, but the possibility of creating an improved design that has superior protection will be of interest to cyclists who choose to wear helmets. There are also implications for motorcycle helmets, and any activity where a helmet is worn, but especially for high-speed, high-impact activities.
In the future shoppers will buy custom-made 3D printed helmets
Future bicycle helmets may well be designed using 3D printing in shops while the customer waits. The service will use lasers to measure the exact contours of the customer’s head and create a custom helmet that will ensure minimal air gaps exist that reduce the shock absorption of the helmet. DS is able to combine modeling, simulation, and optimization in designing 3D additive manufacturing products, accelerating the design process to achieve the desired levels of quality and repeatability.
DS has also launched a platform called Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) for large additive manufacturing products. 3D printing is used in the aerospace industry for creative product design and prototyping, and DS is seeing the use of additive manufacturing extending to large-scale production. This application of DS’s 3DExperience platform to 3D printing is a key differentiator for the company.
Michael Azoff, Principal Analyst, Ovum Infrastructure Solutions Group