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Technical Paper

Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Plastic and Steel Vehicle Fuel Tanks

Federal standards that mandate improved fuel economy have resulted in the increased use of lightweight materials in automotive applications. However, the environmental burdens associated with a product extend well beyond the use phase. Life cycle assessment is the science of determining the environmental burdens associated with the entire life cycle of a given product from cradle-to-grave. This report documents the environmental burdens associated with every phase of the life cycle of two fuel tanks utilized in full-sized 1996 GM vans. These vans are manufactured in two configurations, one which utilizes a steel fuel tank, and the other a multi-layered plastic fuel tank consisting primarily of high density polyethylene (HDPE). This study was a collaborative effort between GM and the University of Michigan's National Pollution Prevention Center, which received funding from EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory.
Technical Paper

Bolt-Load Retention Behavior of Die-Cast AZ91D and AE42 Magnesium

The effect of temperature and preload on the bolt load retention (BLR) behavior of AZ91D and AE42 magnesium die castings was investigated. The results were compared to those of 380 aluminum die castings. Test temperatures from 125 to 175°C and preloads from 7 to 28 kN were investigated. The loss of preload for AZ91D was more sensitive to temperature than that observed for AE42, especially at low preloads. In general, retained bolt-load was lowest in AZ91D. All test assemblies were preloaded at room temperature and load levels increased when the assemblies reached test temperature. The load-increase was dependent on the preload level, test temperature, alloy, and results from thermal expansion mismatch between the steel bolt and the magnesium alloy components, mitigated by the onset of primary creep. Thermal exposure (aging) of AZ91D at 150°C improved BLR behavior.
Technical Paper

Experimental Evaluation of the Quench Rate of AA7075

The aluminum alloy 7075-T6 has the potential to be used for structural automotive body components as an alternative to boron steel. Although this alloy shows poor formability at room temperature, it has been demonstrated that hot stamping is a feasible sheet metal process that can be used to overcome the forming issues. Hot stamping is an elevated temperature forming operation in which a hot blank is formed and quenched within a stamping die. Attaining a high quench rate is a critical step of the hot stamping process and corresponds to maximum strength and corrosion resistance. This work looks at measuring the quench rate of AA7075-T6 by way of three different approaches: water, a water-cooled plate, and a bead die. The water-cooled plate and the bead die are laboratory-scale experimental setups designed to replicate the hot stamping/die quenching process.
Technical Paper

Sandwich Panels with Corrugated Core - A Lightweighting Concept with Improved Stiffness

Sandwich panels with high modulus/high strength skin material and low density/low modulus core material have higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than monolithic panels. In this paper, sandwich panels with corrugated core are explored as a lightweighting concept for improved stiffness. The skin and the core materials are a high strength steel, aluminum alloy or carbon fiber-epoxy composite. The core has a triangular corrugation, a trapezoidal corrugation and a rectangular corrugation. The stiffness of the sandwich panels is analytically determined and compared with monolithic panels of equal mass. It is shown that the stiffness of the sandwich panels is 5 to 7 times higher than that of the monolithic panels.
Technical Paper

NH3 Storage in Sample Lines

Ammonia, often present in exhaust gas samples, is a polar molecule gas that interacts with walls of the gas sampling and analysis equipment resulting in delayed instrument response. A set of experiments quantified various materials and process parameters of a heated sample line system for ammonia (NH3) response using a Fourier Transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR). Response attenuation rates are due to mixing and diffusion during transport as well as NH3 wall storage. Mixing/diffusion effects cause attenuation with a time constant 1-10 seconds. Wall storage attenuation has a time constant 10-200 seconds. The effects of sample line diameter and length, line temperature, line material, hydrated versus dry gas, and flow rate were examined. All of these factors are statistically significant to variation of at least one of the time constants. The NH3 storage on the sample system walls was calculated as a function of the experimental test as well.
Technical Paper

Fatigue Life Prediction for Adaptable Insert Welds between Sheet Steel and Cast Magnesium Alloy

Joining technology is a key factor to utilize dissimilar materials in vehicle structures. Adaptable insert weld (AIW) technology is developed to join sheet steel (HSLA350) to cast magnesium alloy (AM60) and is constructed by combining riveting technology and electrical resistance spot welding technology. In this project, the AIW joint technology is applied to construct front shock tower structures composed with HSLA350, AM60, and Al6082 and a method is developed to predict the fatigue life of the AIW joints. Lap-shear and cross-tension specimens were constructed and tested to develop the fatigue parameters (load-life curves) of AIW joint. Two FEA modeling techniques for AIW joints were used to model the specimen geometry. These modeling approaches are area contact method (ACM) and TIE contact method.
Technical Paper

Analysis of Temperatures and Stresses in Wet Friction Disks Involving Thermally Induced Changes of Contact Pressure

Thermal distortions of friction disks caused by frictional heating modify pressure distribution on friction surfaces. Pressure distribution, in turn, determines distribution of generated frictional heat. These interdependencies create a complex thermoelastic system that, under some conditions, may become unstable and may lead to severe pressure concentrations with very high local temperature and stress. The phenomenon is responsible for many common thermal failure modes of friction elements and is known as frictionally excited thermoelastic instability (TEI). In the paper, one of the cases of TEI is investigated theoretically and experimentally. The study involves a two-disk structure with one fiction disk and one matching steel disk that have one friction interface. An unsteady heat conduction problem and an elastic contact problem are modeled as axisymmetric ones and are solved using the finite element method.
Journal Article

Failure Mode and Fatigue Behavior of Dissimilar Laser Welds in Lap-Shear Specimens of Low Carbon Steel and HSLA Steel Sheets

In this paper, failure modes of dissimilar laser welds in lap-shear specimens of low carbon steel and high strength low alloy (HSLA) steel sheets are investigated based on experimental observations. Micro-hardness tests across the weld zones of dissimilar laser welds were conducted. The hardness values of the fusion zones and heat affected zones are significantly higher than those of the base metals. The fatigue lives and the corresponding failure modes of laser welds as functions of the load ranges are then examined. Optical micrographs of the laser welds before and after failure under quasi-static and cyclic loading conditions are then examined. The failure modes and fatigue behaviors of the laser welds under different loading conditions are different. Under quasi-static loading conditions, a necking failure occurred in the upper low carbon steel sheet far away from the laser weld.
Journal Article

Stress-Strain Relations for Nodular Cast Irons with Different Graphite Volume Fractions under Tension and Compression

In this paper, the results of finite element analyses for nodular cast irons with different volume fractions of graphite particles based on an axisymmetric unit cell model under uniaxial compression and tension are presented. The experimental compressive stress-strain data for a nodular cast iron with the volume fraction of graphite particles of 4.5% are available for use as the baseline material data. The elastic-plastic stress-strain relation for the matrix of the cast iron is estimated based on the experimental compressive stress-strain curve of the cast iron with the rule of mixture. The elastic-plastic stress-strain relation for graphite particles is obtained from the literature. The compressive stress-strain curve for the cast iron based on the axisymmetric unit cell model with the use of the von Mises yield function was then obtained computationally and compared well with the compressive stress-strain relation obtained from the experiment.
Journal Article

Stress Intensity Factor Solutions for Dissimilar Welds in Lap-Shear Specimens of Steel, Magnesium, Aluminum and Copper Sheets

In this paper, the analytical stress intensity factor and J integral solutions for welds in lap-shear specimens of two dissimilar sheets based on the beam bending theory are first reviewed. The solutions are then presented in the normalized forms. Next, two-dimensional finite element analyses were selectively conducted to validate the analytical solutions based on the beam bending theory. The interface crack parameters, the stress intensity factor solutions, and the J integral solutions for welds in lap-shear specimens of different combinations of steel, aluminum, and magnesium, and the combination of aluminum and copper sheets of different thickness ratios are then presented for convenient fracture and fatigue analyses. The transition thickness ratios for critical crack locations for different combinations of dissimilar materials are then determined from the analytical solutions.
Journal Article

Mechanical Behavior and Failure Mechanism of Nb-Clad Stainless Steel Sheets

Because niobium-clad 304L stainless steel sheets are considered for use as bipolar plates in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, their mechanical behavior and failure mechanism are important to be examined. As-rolled and annealed specimens were tested in tension, bending and flattening. The effects of annealing temperature and time on the mechanical behavior and failure mechanism were investigated. Micrographic analyses of bent and flattened specimens showed that the as-rolled specimens have limited ductility and that the annealed specimens can develop an intermetallic layer of thickness of a few microns. The annealed specimens failed due to the breakage of intermetallic layer causing localized necking and the subsequent failure of Nb layer. The springback angles of the as-rolled and annealed specimens were also obtained from guided-bend tests.