Materials and simulation modelling of a crash-beam performance - A comparison study showing the potential for weight saving using warm-formed ultra-high strength aluminium alloys
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSchlosser, J., Schneider, R., Rimkus, W., Kelsch, R., Gerstner, F., Harrison, D. K., & Grant, R. J. (2017). Materials and simulation modelling of a crash-beam performance – a comparison study showing the potential for weight saving using warm-formed ultra-high strength aluminium alloys. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 896. 10.1088/1742-6596/896/1/012091
Forming complex parts out of high and ultra-high strength aluminium alloys has proved to be more challenging in comparison to the currently used deep drawing steels. The novel "Warmforming-Process" offers the potential to produce light and highly integrated one-piece components out of such aluminium alloys at elevated temperatures. When considering aluminium alloys in the 7000 group, which can reach strength values (UTS) far above 600 MPa, crash components such as side impact bars would offer a suitable field of application. It is important when taking into consideration the geometric design of structural components to utilise their load bearing characteristics in an efficient manner. This structural optimisation lends itself well to computational simulation techniques, which are essential in the evaluation of appropriate geometry and sizing of complex structures with challenging load scenarios. Crash simulations using the nonlinear finite element method (FEM) of side impact protection beams have been used to demonstrate the weight saving potential of high and ultra-high strength aluminium alloys. A beam design formed from a 7000 series alloy was taken as a reference. Substituting various materials, inter alia press hardened steel (phs), and benchmarking against the original beam's crash performance, by changing the material thickness, equivalent beams were produced. The thicknesses of the beam geometries have been evaluated by "sizing optimisation" and their possible mass reduction are compared against each other. The nonlinear FEM simulations show good agreement with a corresponding set of experimental results. It was seen that for a common crash performance the ultra-high strength aluminium alloys outperform press hardened steel components in terms of their weight. Thus, there is a significant weight saving potential to be realised if crash components are manufactured using 7000 series aluminium alloys. In this work, the weight saving potential was found to be in the region of 20 - 25%.