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Technical Paper

High Strength Steel Skid Plates: A Design Optimization Study

The purpose of this paper is to show that certain steel skid plates can achieve up to a 50% weight reduction, with little or no increase in cost, by simply changing the shape and utilizing high strength steel. There are many factors that can influence the skid plate shape, including rail width, ground clearance, attachment points, drive shaft location, and the general shape of the object for which it is the skid plate's sole purpose to protect (fuel tank, transfer case, etc.). A skid plate is usually considered last from a design standpoint so that its design is dependent upon the environment which it is set in. For this reason, skid plates are generally heavy and flat to meet ground clearance requirements and have ribs inserted to increase stiffness. Sometimes design parameters require a skid plate to be heavy and flat. But more often, a stiffer lightweight design can be obtained.