Challenges in the Simulation of Car Body Structures made from Composite Materials

For some years now lightweight design has been an important factor in the development of competitive products in the automotive industry. Current social trends will increase the need for modern lightweight design concepts in car body construction. The trend in future lightweight car bodies is toward multi-material design, and for certain vehicle market segments these may include composite materials and especially fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) due to their high weight-saving potential.

Prospects for the FRP material group are based in particular on the ability to tailor the material’s properties to suit specific needs and match them to structural requirements. The ability to adjust anisotropy and the high weight-specific characteristic values have to be utilized consequently for systematic weight saving, in order to compensate for or justify additional cost. Compared with isotropic materials, FRPs therefore represent new challenges but also opportunities for the current development and simulation process.

Starting with the state of the art, this paper describes the material phenomena that can already be predicted and computed numerically in large scale practical composite structures. It also indicates work areas that will be needed in order to realise the full potential of FRPs and to develop intelligent, lightweight body architectures appropriate to the material in the future. Initial approaches and examples of progress are presented briefly.

The Author

Jochen Döll
Audi Lightweight Design Centre
AUDI AG
74148 Neckarsulm
Germany

Nico Feindler
Audi Lightweight Design Centre
AUDI AG
74148 Neckarsulm
Germany

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