Investigation of Crashworthiness of Structural Composite Components in Frontal and Side NCAP Tests 2013-01-0650
This paper investigates the crashworthiness of structural composite components in frontal and side crash tests. In addition, the safety benefits of composites applications in future lighter vehicles are studied. The methodology of the research includes two steps: (1) developing a light-weight vehicle based on a current finite element (FE) vehicle using advanced plastics and composites, and (2) evaluating the crashworthiness of the light-weighted vehicle by frontal and side New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) test simulations. An FE model of a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado, which is a body-on-frame pickup truck, was selected as the baseline vehicle for light-weighting.
By light-weighting components in the Silverado, the vehicle weight was reduced 19%. As a result, the content of plastics and composite in the light-weighted vehicle was 23.6% of the total weight of the light-weight vehicle. Light-weighted composite structural components include bumpers, front-end module, fenders, pillar reinforcements, door beams, and ladder frame. Frontal and side NCAP test simulations of the light-weighted vehicle show that the light-weighted vehicles using advanced plastics and composites provide equivalent structural performance to the baseline vehicle in the full-scale impact condition. Also, this study demonstrates that using plastics and composites can reduce the vehicle weight efficiently.