Science and technology have been a boon for humanity. Together, they have guided in the study of the past and assisted in securing the future. Their effectiveness may be measured by improvements in health, hygiene, safety, and human longevity. Today, we live in a world governed by science, driven by the laws of physics, expressed in the language of engineering, and delivered through forms of hardware and software technology. Here, the concept of physics needs no introduction. Having been defined as the art of how things work, physics is one of the oldest and most studied branches of science. As engineers delve deeper into the micro, nano and pico world of physics in order to have a greater understanding of real-world phenomena, the combination of physics and software is re-inventing technology.
Headquartered in Long Beach, California, AlphaSTAR Corporation is a brand that, through its innovative physics-based simulation technology, is providing new possibilities and uncharted vistas to the subjects of additive manufacturing (AM), material modelling, advanced composites, metal design, and ceramic structures as applied to the global aerospace, automotive, defense and energy industries. Established in 1990, by Founder and CTO Dr. Frank Abdi, AlphaSTAR Corporation is known for its vast expertise in software development, Integrated Computational Materials Engineering, Multi-Scale Progressive Failure Analysis and an uncanny ability to solve some of the world’s toughest engineering problems. Further, AlphaSTAR has been recognized for its accomplishments and is the recipient of two prestigious R&D 100 awards for software development in Additive Manufacturing and Multi-Scale Progressive Failure Analysis.
“Our clients trust our 30+ years of expertise in material science to solve their problems,” says Dr. Abdi.
"We take pride in tackling industry’s most complex problems. Our team of innovative engineers and scientists are equipped to provide clients with solutions to today’s problems and guidance to avoid tomorrow’s problems."
The mind behind AlphaSTAR
Besides being a renowned aerospace scientist, and a distinguished author, Dr. Abdi is the mind behind the success of AlphaSTAR and has extensive knowledge of the various DOD, NASA, and industry software packages. Having worked at Rockwell International for fifteen years as manager of Advanced Program’s Controlled Configured Vehicle Research, Dr. Abdi has over 45 years of experience in computer-based modelling and code development for applications associated with advanced structures, materials processing, and composite mechanics.
Dr. Abdi started AlphaSTAR when the aerospace industry was going through a major transformation. In those days, composite materials due to their highly robust characteristics were mandatorily used in the application of advanced aerospace platforms. However, the computational tools then available were not up to the standard required and needed an upgrade. Having noticed this shortfall in technology, Dr. Abdi founded AlphaSTAR and went on to develop the General Optimizer and Analyzer (GENOA) program. Accompanied by modules, the GENOA program was used to monitor, and address issues related to material behavior, environmental degradation, complex failure criteria, and other capabilities to enhance performance and accuracy.
The integrated approach that AlphaSTAR has adopted towards material modelling and structural analysis makes it unique and separates it from its competitors. This approach resulted in the usage of de-homogenized material models to drive multiscale progressive failure analysis to promptly predict damage initiation and propagation in structures comprised of advanced material systems. “Working at AlphaSTAR comes from the unique experience of always working on cutting edge challenges from hypersonic, to additive manufacturing, to advanced composites, to structural health monitoring,” says Dr. Abdi. “As the saying goes, every day is an adventure.”
The integrated approach that AlphaSTAR has adopted towards material modelling and structural analysis has resulted in the usage of de-homogenized material models to drive multiscale progressive failure analysis to promptly predict damage initiation and propagation in structures comprised of advanced material systems.
AlphaSTAR offers three primary products:
Material Characterization and Qualification (MCQ): is a tested and verified Material Characterization and Qualification tool, which provides users the qualified material properties as inputs for finite element analysis. By deploying a de-homogenized approach, MCQ addresses continuous fiber, discontinuous fiber, and ceramic matric and hybrid systems. Ultimately, facilitating material qualification, modeling, and design analysis, so that, in a very short period of time, end-users can generate vast amounts of actionable information concerning as-built advanced material systems.
GENOA MS-PFA: is AlphaSTAR’s legacy code – A durability & damage tolerance, progressive failure and reliability tool that allows engineers to assess failure at the macro, micro and nano levels for advanced materials and composite structures, subject to static, fatigue, impact and environmental loadings. The ability to address damage, fracture initiation and evolution, integrate the damage & fracture mechanics and determine percent damage contribution, make it a unique tool for advanced structural design.
GENOA 3DP Simulation: is an ICME based additive manufacturing toolset, that simulates the 3D printing process for Polymers, Metals and Ceramics – from Material Characterization to Advanced FE analysis. The tool predicts build outcomes and other manufacturing anomalies by recognizing the effect of defects from the nano to macro scale, resulting in as-built material properties and performance. Ultimately providing end-users with an ability to optimize builds to reduce weight, reduce scrap rate, improve overall performance, and meet specs.
Advanced material systems, their components, and structures are often complex and are expensive to fabricate. Moreover, they need to undergo rigorous and costly testing to meet the set requirements and accreditation. AlphaSTAR tools are designed to address the design and analytical requirements of these modern structures. Where MCQ addresses material modeling including scatter and uncertainty, GENOA delivers a prompt and succinct multi-scale progressive failure analysis for assessments of durability & damage tolerance. Finally, to eliminate the need for the costly & time-consuming trial and error fabrication, GENOA 3DP provides the process simulation coupled with build optimization. With these three tools, AlphaSTAR provides a suite of software which is a complete package for virtual testing and inspection.
No challenge is big enough
The AlphaSTAR team is known for handling demanding and challenging projects. One such project led to the invention of their signature program named GENOA 3DP. In late 2014, AlphaSTAR was working on a project led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory to determine the cause of severe delamination and debonding associated with the fabrication of the world’s first 3D printed car. The team was asked to simulate the AM fabrication of a part, including the effect of defects on the material system and thermal structural loads on the build while not utilizing FEA and a geometric mesh to assess the performance like previous projects. This was a major, however, known for taking up challenges, AlphaSTAR started working on it and realized that the mesh corresponding to the G-Code and STL file could be turned on one element at a time to replicate the build plan and process. This was a huge breakthrough moment. The team was successfully able to mimic the AM build, apply loads to active elements while identifying the root cause of problems associated with the Additive Manufacturing fabrication. This discovery earned AlphaSTAR the 2015 R&D 100 Award in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
With such innovative products and an all-star team which is committed to success, AlphaSTAR is driving a technological revolution.