1989-02-01

On the Optimum Design of Composite Roof Structures 890548

The roof structures of light utility vehicles are often comprised of a single composite shell without the usual steel or aluminum frames found on conventional passenger automobiles. This study analyzes the geometry of such structures in relation to their performance during rollover accident and roof intrusion. For a given set of material properties and roof impact velocity, their exists an optimum value of roof stiffness that would minimize the impact energy, manifested in a rollover accident, that would be transmitted to the occupant compartment. This work shows the effects of various geometric parameters on the amount of elastic strain energy that can be absorbed during deformation of the rooftop. The optimum roof geometry was determined to minimize the possibility of, if not the severity of, occupant injury.

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