Composite Hybrid Automotive Suspension System Innovative Structures (CHASSIS) 2020-01-0777
The Composite Hybrid Automotive Suspension System Innovative Structures (CHASSIS) is a project to develop structural commercial vehicle suspension components in high volume utilising hybrid materials and joining techniques to offer a viable lightweight production alternative to steel. Three components are in scope for the project:-
• Front Subframe
• Front Lower Control Arm (FLCA)
• Rear Deadbeam Axle
The front subframe will be hybrid of prepreg carbon fibre and aluminium castings using advanced bonding. The FLCA will be glass and carbon fibre over moulding with steel inserts for strength and attachment purposes and the deadbeam axle will be a combination of e-glass, carbon fibre and aluminium extrusion. All components have a five minute cycle time to make the process viable for volume manufacture.
The complexities of the designs lie in the areas of manufacturing, CAE prediction and highly specialised design methods. Design thinking was an intrinsic part of the development and the design team were able to use their extensive knowledge of material behaviour and state of the art manufacturing methods to enable a component that meets the required functional requirements by learning from previous projects.
CAE optimisation and topology techniques developed during the project made a significant contribution in establishing not only the composite material lay-up, but also the hybrid material selection and joining techniques. This was required to understand the failure mechanisms of the sheer number of combinations of fibre orientations, material physical properties and structural adhesives that make the predictive analysis methods viable for efficient designs.
Manufacturing methods considered for the most efficient design to meet the five minute cycle times.
• Front Subframe – Compression moulding and casting
• FLCA – Compression moulding with over-moulding
• Rear Deadbeam Axle – Pultrusion with dissimilar composites and extrusion
• Structural adhesives for all three concepts (above)