A materials selection procedure for sandwiched beams via parametric optimization with applications in automotive industry

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Mechanical Engineering Department

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Research Article

Publication Title

Materials and Design

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The future of automotive industry faces many challenges in meeting increasingly strict restrictions on emissions, energy usage and recyclability of components alongside the need to maintain cost competiveness. Weight reduction through innovative design of components and proper material selection can have profound impact towards attaining such goals since most of the lifecycle energy usage occurs during the operation phase of a vehicle. In electric and hybrid vehicles, weight reduction has another important effect of extending the electric mode driving range between stops or gasoline mode. This paper adopts parametric models for design optimization and material selection of sandwich panels with the objective of weight and cost minimization subject to structural integrity constraints such as strength, stiffness and buckling resistance. The proposed design procedure employs a pre-compiled library of candidate sandwich panel material combinations, for which optimization of the layered thicknesses is conducted and the best one is reported. Example demonstration studies from the automotive industry are presented for the replacement of Aluminum and Steel panels with polypropylene-filled sandwich panel alternatives. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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