Application of Load Path Index U* for Evaluation of Sheet Steel Joint with Spot Welds 2012-01-0534
An attempt was made to apply the index U* in detail analysis of load paths in structural joints under static load, using as examples coupling structures of two joined frames with hat-shaped sections, and T-beam joint structures each including spot welds, both of which are widely used in automotive body structures. U* is a load path analysis index that expresses the strength of connection between load points and arbitrary points on a structure. It was possible to identify areas making up load paths by means of the magnitude of U* values, and to clarify the areas that should be coupled in order to achieve effective load transfer to contiguous members. In addition, because it is possible to determine whether or not each section of a structure possesses the potential for load transfer using U* analysis, the research also demonstrated that U* could be used as an indicator of joint structures providing efficient load transfer.