Energy Absorption in Aluminum Extrusions for a Spaceframe Chassis 951079

This work describes the design, finite-element analysis, and verifications performed by LLNL and Kaiser Aluminum for the prototype design of the CALSTART Running Chassis purpose-built electric vehicle. Component level studies, along with our previous experimental and finite-element works, provided the confidence to study the crashworthiness of a complete aluminum spaceframe. Effects of rail geometry, size, and thickness were studied in order to achieve a controlled crush of the front end structure. These included the performance of the spaceframe itself, and the additive effects of the powertrain cradle and powertrain (motor/controller in this case) as well as suspension. Various design iterations for frontal impact at moderate and high speed are explored.


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