Due to the complexity of designing advanced composite parts, many software tools have been developed to aid the designer and reduce design cycle time. Draping is one of those tools and is used to predict the fiber angles throughout the part. This application of draping is to simulate the actual hand layup process that a technician would go through while creating a multi-layered laminate composite part. This method is the first to use plies as an underlying surface for draping instead of just using an offset mold surface. This method can visualize full 3D ply geometry taking into account the thicknesses of the underlying plies and their drop-off regions which a designer could use to avoid superimposing ply drop-offs. Physical testing showed that this method predicts ply drop-off regions reasonably well and allows the designer to visualize the final shape of the laminate. The method also provides for re-ordering of the plies while keeping their cut-out shape the same because of its reverse-process draping technique. Three methods of draping were explored in order to find the best method. Multiple test parts were created with specific features that are difficult to drape. The method to drop fabric to the surface was the most versatile while a method published by Wang was the best for convex surfaces and superior to spread-type draping. No one method worked well for all surfaces.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





draping, composites, simulated layup