Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0203
2020-04-14

A Finite Element Design Study and Performance Evaluation of an Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites Vehicle Door Assembly 2020-01-0203

The ever-growing concern to reduce the impact of transportation systems on environment has pushed automotive industry towards fuel-efficient and sustainable solutions. While several approaches have been used to improve fuel efficiency, the light-weighting of automobile components has proven broadly effective. A substantial effort is devoted to lightweighting body-in-white which contributes ~35% of total weight of vehicle. Closure systems, however, have been often overlooked. Closure systems are extremely important as they account for ~ 50% of structural mass and have a very diverse range of requirements, including crash safety, durability, strength, fit, finish, NVH, and weather sealing. To this end, a carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite door is being designed for an OEM’s mid-size SUV, that enables 42.5% weight reduction. In this work, several novel composite door assembly designs were developed by using an integrated design, analysis and optimization approach. A design optimization is performed to satisfy static load case requirements which represent daily use and misuse. The crashworthiness of door assembly is assessed by considering three non-linear load cases: (a) quasi-static pole test (FMVSS 214S) (b) full pole test (FMVSS 214) and (c) moving deformable barrier test (IIHS SI MDB). To evaluate the crash performance of composite door design, a set of key performance indicators listed by our OEM partner are assessed on a gauging metric. Furthermore, drape simulations are performed to assess the manufacturability of the composite plies. It is concluded that ultra-lightweight thermoplastic reinforced composites door (ULWC) is a feasible design concept that is capable of satisfying all the design and performance requirements.

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