Test Methodologies for Determining Energy Absorbing Mechanisms of Automotive Composite Material Systems 2000-01-1575
Composite materials have the potential to reduce the overall cost and weight of automotive structures with the added benefit of being able to dissipate large amounts of impact energy by progressive crushing. To identify and quantify the energy absorbing mechanisms in composite materials, test methodologies were developed for conducting progressive crush tests on composite specimens that have simplified test geometries. The test method development focused on isolating the damage modes associated with the frond formation that occurs in dynamic testing of composite tubes. A new test fixture was designed to progressively crush composite plate specimens under quasi-static test conditions. Preliminary results are presented under a sufficient set of test conditions to validate the operation of the test fixture. The experimental data, in conjunction with test observations, will be used in future work to identify the characteristic damage and failure modes, and determine the specific energy absorption capability of candidate automotive composite material systems.