AnalySwift Receives Grant to Improve Service Life of Helicopters

Pete CodellaNews

AnalySwift, a Utah State University spinout now located in West Jordan, Utah, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program grant from the U.S. Navy in October 2019. The SBIR award helps the company further develop its SwiftComp software that provides efficient, high-fidelity modeling of composites.

The company recently worked with the Utah SBIR Center, a state-funded initiative to provide Utah companies with free assistance to secure highly competitive non-equity position funding.

“The Utah SBIR Center has worked with AnalySwift since the technology-based venture launched from Utah State University. We’re thrilled to have their efforts recognized by the Navy’s SBIR program,” said Mary Cardon, director of the Utah SBIR Center, an initiative of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “This highly competitive funding allows the company to advance its technology without losing any equity. And that’s a win for everyone.”

The company is collaborating with researchers from Purdue University to accomplish this project. The advancements will be incorporated into existing AnalySwift software, named SwiftComp, and used by companies to provide accurate and efficient modeling of composites.

The project will help the Navy by advancing software to better predict the durability of flexbeams made from composite materials, which are materials made from two or more different materials that, when combined, are stronger, lighter or have other advantages over those individual materials by themselves.

“We are excited to partner with the U.S. Navy to help address this challenge,” said Allan Wood, president and CEO of AnalySwift. “The Navy will use the resulting software technology to properly align a helicopter’s predicted life to actual service life, reduce downtime in redesigns and, ultimately, save money.”

A helicopter flexbeam is the critical component that connects the blade with the hub. Flexbeams made from composites are particularly difficult to design and analyze due to their complexity, including their tapered and curved nature and complex microstructures.

“Our specific project aims to enable an efficient high-fidelity toolset with significantly improved durability predictive capabilities for composite flexbeams using user-defined elements,” Wood said. “Success of this proposal will produce a practical solution for efficient yet accurate durability analysis of composite flexbeams.”

Potential applications outside of helicopter flexbeams include helicopter and wind turbine blades, as well as complex composite structures featuring non-uniform cross-sections used in aerospace, automotive and sports. It also has applications for thick composite structures where ply-level stress and durability prediction is critical.

In addition to better strength and durability analysis for curved and tapered composite structures such as composite flexbeams, the project aims to:

  • Significantly reduce the time and cost used for the design and redesign of complex composite structures.
  • Gain additional insightful guidance for experiments in understanding the effects of ply drop-offs and other defects of composite flexbeams.
  • Have explicit modeling of internal features and defects, easy handling of hybrid materials and direct incorporation of new material models.