Dynamics, Control and Vehicle Research Group

Dr Chang Wang

Impact Response Analysis of Lightweight Structures Incorporating Novel Design Features

One approach to reducing fuel consumption of vehicles is to reduce overall weight, whilst ensuring that safety aspects are not compromised. To address these requirements the project focuses on the efficient use of materials formed by advanced manufacturing processes. Finite element analysis and experimental tests will be conducted to characterise impact energy absorption performance and response of lightweight structures. The structures are manufactured by a sheet metal dimpling process and the unique material characteristics imparted are studied in this project. The outcomes will have an impact on lightweight vehicle designs and structural design in cognate engineering applications.

The UltraSTEEL® dimpling process developed by the Hadley group is used to increase the strength of sheet metals. It has been demonstrated that a dimpled steel sheet can achieve an equivalent strength to higher gauge plain steel sheet, thereby reducing weight without sacrificing structural properties. Due to the nature of dimpled sheet steel it is expected to provide better impact energy absorption characteristics in structures which are subject to high impact load, such as in vehicle front/side members during vehicle collisions.

Image shows a computer simulation of a dimpled stud










Fig. 1 Simulation of the dimpled stud Fig. 2 Experimental test of the dimpled stud



To understand the impact energy absorption characteristics of dimpled struts and related components, finite element modelling will be used to predict load-deformation curves and impact response. The model predictions will be validated by experimental tests. Deformations of the dimpled stud under axial compression load are shown in Figs.1 and 2.