The Effect of High Mileage Spot Weld Degradation on Vehicle Body Joint Stiffness
Joint stiffness is a major contributor to the vehicle body overall bending and torsional stiffness which in turn affects the vehicle NVH performance. Each joint consists of spot welds which function as load paths between adjacent sheet metal. Spot welds tend to lose structural integrity as a result of fatigue, loosening, aging, wear and corrosion of parts as a vehicle accumulates mileage. Experimental methods are used to identify potential degradation mechanisms associated with a spot weld. A CAE model which simulates a vehicle body joint generically is used to determine the effects of each individual degradation mode of a spot weld on joint stiffness. A real life B-pillar to roof joint CAE model of a production vehicle is then employed to examine the significance of weld distribution on joint stiffness degradation. The knowledge derived from this study can be used as a guidance in designing vehicle body structures with respect to spot weld distribution.