Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

27/11/2015

Situation

Axon Automotive wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of its Axontex™ material to form the structure of a safe and lightweight car. At the same time the company also wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of the company.

Task

  1. To build a Finite Element analysis (FEA) model for Axontex™ that would enable the design of a full vehicle structure to be subjected to virtual crash testing
  2. To validate the model using sled tests
  3. To produce a design of a vehicle structure that would meet crash test requirements and could be tailored to a specific stiffness during design. 

Outputs

The team started with a selected range of carbon fibre materials and conducted basic mechanical testing on standard coupons.

These basic results were then used to build a model of how an Axontex™ beam would behave in a range of materials.

Axontex™ beams were then manufactured and tested to validate the model.

The expanded model was then used to design whole vehicle structures in Axontex™ and test them for crash and stiffness.

Full assemblies were then made and subjected to sled-tests to validate the final stage of the model.

Finally frames were designed and the carbon fibre specifications were iteratively tailored to give the target crash and stiffness criteria. With the validated model it was then possible to build a short run of Axon 60 vehicles to complete the design cycle and demonstrate the team’s ability to design and build a safe and lightweight vehicle to a customer’s specification

Benefits

  • The team demonstrated its ability to build a robust FEA model through systematic experimentation.
  • The team demonstrated its ability to use that model to conduct FEA modelling to accurately predict both crash performance and structural stiffness.
  • The team demonstrated the potential of Axontex™ for vehicle structures.
  • The resulting FEA platform has subsequently been built upon with further experimental data being added for other materials to produce a powerful modelling capability.

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