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Technical Paper

Instrument Panel Weight Reduction via Structural Optimization

The drive for lower weight instrument panels (IP) can be addressed with different design approaches. The first and more traditional approach is to substitute existing substrate materials with materials having a higher stiffness-to-density ratio. The second approach looks at the sub-system level where weight reduction is achieved through part integration. To exemplify this type of designs, examples of innovative knee bolster solutions are shown. The third and most radical approach is weight reduction at the system level. Alternatives to instrument panels that use traditional cross car beam structures will be presented. With these alternatives, hybrid and structural instrument panels can be developed in which weight reduction is achieved by part integration and by allowing plastic materials to fulfill a more significant structural role than in traditional IPs.
Technical Paper

Doe Structural Optimization of Plastic Crushable Rib Absorbers

Passenger protection to reduce fatality and injury rates is of critical importance worldwide. Side and head impact occupant protection requirements have been legislated both in North America and Europe. Even though the applicable legislation for each impact condition is different, the impact event poses similar functional requirements. Therefore, concept designs and methodologies for engineering optimization can be used interchangeably to develop countermeasures whether dealing with side or head impact crashworthy systems. The present paper outlines the use of a systematic approach that combines structural CAE simulations and Design of Experiments (DOE) for the optimization of the structural performance of crushable thermoplastic energy absorbers that are being used in door panels and upper interior trim. The use of DOE allows the evaluation of critical design and material parameters which affect the performance of the system.
Technical Paper

Instrument Panel Design Architectures - Relation to Structure, Materials and Process

The increase in instrument panel design and functional performance requirements has resulted in a variety of structural architectures that have been utilized in different passenger vehicles, vans, and light trucks. Each architecture can be designed and engineered to meet corporate and federal requirements using different levels of integration, functionality consolidation, and assembly simplification. The present paper reviews three basic IP design architectures, i.e., traditional, hybrid, and structural, and discusses the performance requirement-functionality matrix in each case. Emphasis is given at explaining the role components play in the different architectures, defining their contribution to static, dynamic and crash performance and their relation to the overall assembly process and sequence. Performance and functionality requirements are linked to basic material characteristics that guide material selection for achieving design targets.
Technical Paper

Use of CAE Methods for Optimization of Polypropylene Structural Components in Automotive Applications

Since their introduction in automobiles, polymeric materials have enabled designers and engineers to differentiate products based on performance attributes, mechanical response, aesthetics, and manufacturing techniques. A large segment of these applications utilizes polypropylene (PP) resins. One of the attractive features of PP polymers is the ability to tailor their mechanical, thermal and processing performance envelope via modification of their composition and the addition of fillers. Key to the successful application of PP resins in structural systems is the ability of designers and engineers to understand the material response and to properly model the behavior of PP structures upon different mechanical and thermal loading conditions.
Technical Paper

Acoustic and Structural Treatment of Body-in-White

Automotive body structures are developed to meet vehicle performance requirements primarily based on ride and handling, crashworthiness, and noise level targets. The body is made of a multitude of sheet metal stampings welded together. Other closures such as fenders, hood, doors and trunk lid are developed to match body interfaces, to contribute and participate in the overall vehicle response, and to meet the sub-system and system structural requirements. In order to improve performance and achieve weight reduction of the overall vehicle steel structure, new polymeric materials and treatment strategies are available to body structural engineers to optimize the response of the vehicle and to tune vehicle performance to meet specified functional requirements. If early integrated to the design cycle, these materials help not only improve the structural body response, but also decrease the weight of the integrated body structure.
Technical Paper

Structural Front-End Carrier Using Long Glass Fiber Polypropylene

Modular front-end carriers to pre-assemble front-end components such as cooling systems, lights, and bumper beam have been in production in different vehicles for several years. Compression molded or overmolded steel/plastic carriers have traditionally been used. The present paper explains the design, material options, and engineering optimization of a composite front-end carrier, which utilizes long glass fiber injection moldable resins and adhesively bonded steel reinforcements. Experimental evaluation of prototypes shows the system met the functional performance requirements at minimum weight.