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Technical Paper

Decomposition-based Assembly Synthesis of Automotive Body Structures

This paper presents an extension of our previous work on decomposition-based assembly synthesis [1], where the 3D finite element model of a vehicle body-in-white (BIW) is optimally decomposed into a set of components considering the stiffness of the assembled structure under given loading conditions, and the manufacturability and assemblability of each component. The stiffness of the assembled structure is evaluated by finite element analyses, where spot-welded joints are modeled as linear torsional springs. In order to allow close examinations of the trade-off among stiffness, manufacturability, and assemblability, the optimal decomposition problem is solved by multi-objective genetic algorithm [2,3], with graph-based crossover [4,5], combined with FEM analyses, generating Pareto optimal solutions. Two software programs are developed to implement the proposed method.
Technical Paper

Design Optimization of Vehicle Structures for Crashworthiness via Equivalent Mechanism Approximations

A new method for crashworthiness optimization of vehicle structures is presented, where an early design exploration is done by the optimization of an equivalent mechanism approximating a vehicle structure. An equivalent mechanism (EM) is a network of rigid bodies connected by prismatic and revolute joints with special nonlinear springs. These springs are designed to mimic the force-displacement characteristics of thin-walled beams often found in the vehicle body structures. A computer software is implemented that allows the designer to quickly construct an equivalent mechanism model of a structure using a graphical user interface (GUI) to optimize the model for given objectives prior to final tuning using finite element (FE) models. A case study of a vehicle front substructure consisting of mid and lower rails is presented, which demonstrates that the new approach can obtain a better design with less computational resources than the direct optimization of a FE model.