It’s time to put composites to the ultimate test. A new software tool developed in Ireland has the capabilities to test failure rates in composites materials used in high-performance products to ensure their safety. These products include airplanes, sports cars and yachts.

Researchers Dr. Conor McCarthy and Dr. Ted Vaughan at the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI) at the University of Limerick developed Composite MicroMechanics (COMM) Toolbox software, with funding from Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council. The toolbox has been licensed to 12 countries, including the United States, and its main advantage over other composite software designs is the users won’t have to be experts in failure theories.

“Product designers urgently need accurate design tools to help them understand how composite materials behave in harsh environments. This allows them to predict what impacts or pressures the material can sustain, without causing component failure,” said Dr. McCarthy. With the continued growth of the composites industry worldwide, the demand for composite design tools will continue to increase as well

The Irish Center for Composites Research’s (IComp) mission is to patent and license new composite technologies. The COMM Toolbox is the perfect example of transferring fundamental composite research from the lab to the marketplace, according to Dr. Terry McGrail, director and technology leader at IComp.