Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-5170

Numerical Analysis and Experimental Tests of a Sandwich-Structured Impact Attenuator for Formula SAE Application 2020-01-5170

To ensure the safety of drivers, race cars need to be equipped with special structures that assure an efficient crash energy absorption. These devices must be designed taking into account the requirements that every automotive group dictates.
In this study, the effectiveness of a frontal impact attenuator for Formula SAE (FSAE) racing car was investigated. The work aimed at examining the crash performances of a sandwich nose cone. The impact attenuator was realized using two thin skins made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) separated by an aluminum honeycomb core. The energy-absorbing capabilities of the device were studied both experimentally and numerically. Finite element analyses were conducted using the commercial code LS DYNA®. Characterization tests of the materials used were also carried out to accurately predict their mechanical behavior. The computational results and the experimental test data were compared in terms of acceleration and final damage. The crash test was carried out using a drop weight impact system. A good agreement of the results was obtained for the first part of the event, but a discrepancy was observed in the maximum deceleration peak. This may be ascribed to the air entrapped under the impact attenuator during the experimental test.


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