The quest for lighter crash energy absorbing automotive structures has increased the use, parallel with other materials, of the 5xxx sheet and 6xxx extruded aluminum structures. These aluminum structures, when properly designed and joined, are able to demonstrate a very high crash energy absorbing capability.

This paper summarizes the CAE and development work performed in the design of the front end structure of a four door C-class space frame aluminum vehicle. Component and system CAE modeling of the front end were conducted under NCAP’s 35 mph full frontal impact using rigid body dynamic, nonlinear beam finite element and stability codes. Component loads versus crash distances and system deceleration versus time responses were computed.

A 3D spring mass model was built for the front end structure using the rigid body and finite element code MADYMO. Spring characteristics for each component, derived from test data and component CAE models, were input into the MADYMO model. The deceleration-time response generated by the MADYMO model was used as input for the sled testing. The effects of four parameters were studied and discussed in this paper. These parameters are the steering column angle, IP, Pyro Buckle Pretensioner and airbag vent size. Dummy HIC; chest deceleration; neck shear, tension, compression, flexion and extension; femur load, pelvis acceleration and displacement; retractor load; shoulder belt load; lap belt load and other injury numbers, measured from sled test, are summarized and discussed in this paper.

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