Energy-Based Criteria for Crashworthiness Design of Aluminum Intensive Space Frame Vehicles
Space frame type vehicle construction with extruded aluminum members holds promise in terms of desirable vibration-resistant and crashworthiness characteristics. Efficient design of such vehicles for superior frontal crash performance can be accomplished by judicious use of validated finite element and lumped parameter modeling and analysis. However, design iterations can be reduced considerably by employing energy-absorption targets for key members such as front rails in arriving at the initial design concept. For the NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) test procedure, a constraint is laid in terms of achieving a desirable level of vehicle peak deceleration for occupant safety. Using the information obtained through analysis, a numerical target can be set for energy to be absorbed by front rails. For this energy target, a new relationship is then derived which can be utilized for preliminary design of rail cross-section and material strength.