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Optima – Optimisation for Abaqus composites

Optima is a collaboration project between GRM Consulting Ltd, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and McLaren aiming to develop and implement composite optimisation algorithms with the Abaqus non-linear solver.

Optima will develop the ability to derive composite ply shapes to meet multiple structural requirements through the capability to calculate 100,000s of design sensitivities derived from the non-linear model.

Collaborative Partners

GRM Consulting Limited (Lead)

Red Bull Advanced Technologies


IDE people

James Williams

Monitoring Officer


total project spend

The project will make use of Industry leading expertise across automotive and motorsport sectors and will deliver unique non-linear ply shape optimisation capabilities, improving digital product development, with a truly international market appeal.

"OPTIMA aims to deliver technical advances in composite designs through the integration of a optimisation engine (OptiAssist) and the non-linear analysis of Abaqus, developing a product to meet the high aspirations of our technical partners and providing a step change in maximising material efficiency.” 

Martin Gambling,

Managing Director, GRM Consulting Ltd.



The OPTIMA project has delivered OptiAssist for Abaqus, which is uniquely able to develop optimum composite ply shapes and number of plies via the Abaqus non-linear solver. The software allows to concurrently meet several structural requirements, including the global stiffness, strength, and specific displacement constraints. The collaboration has also enabled the creation and validation of the non-linear composite optimisation process to be achieved within what has been a very compressed project timescale. Real-world models generated and provided by the partners have allowed the process to be tested on real examples, in parallel with the code development and sample model testing.


“McLaren Racing has been performing FEA optimisation technology to direct the design of structurally efficient composite structures for over 15 years. However, the overhead and expertise required to incorporate it into current workflows has often limited it’s use. Supporting the OPTIMA project was a great opportunity to influence and contribute to the development of a tool to address these barriers.”



“Because how installation, execution and version numbers were going to work was part of the requirements at the start of the project, executing test cases internally was very simple and the ease of this was a major contributor to the amount of testing undertaken for a short term project.”

Red Bull Applied Technologies

To hear more about the ply shape optimisation technologies that have been developed and how they can be used to leverage the flexibility of composite materials, watch the dissemination webinar held earlier this year. 


An IDE Funded Project

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