1994-03-01

Knee Bolster Analysis of a Thermoplastic Instrument Panel with Damage Mechanics Material Law 940883

Thermoplastics and composites are increasingly becoming popular among automotive design engineers because of their high specific stiffness and flexibility in manufacturing. While plastics like composites are orthotropic, unfilled thermoplastics like ABS Cycolac may be considered isotropic as they show little variation in properties between the flow direction and the direction transverse to the flow. However, this assumption is not enough to treat the latter as metals in finite element analysis. Metals like mild steel, offer considerable ductility, while thermoplastics show limited ductility and begin to fracture with several cracks appearing on the surface. Therefore, in the case of such plastics, it is important to consider the degradation of material properties in nonlinear finite element analysis using Damage Mechanics material law. This paper offers an insight into the material law used and how it was applied to a Knee Bolster subsystem finite element model to correlate with test data.

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