Development of methodologies and processes for the design of composite parts in the automotive segment

Due to ever more stringent requirements on emissions, safety and comfort in cars, increasing use is being made of structural parts made of  fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP). The advantages of such composites over metals are above all their very good weight-related stiffness and strength properties and their superior fatigue behaviour and good damping properties. Until now, however, there has been a lack of methods and processes for the load-related design and production of structural parts made of FRP. To enable their widespread use in large-volume manufacture, suitable methods and processes must be developed.

For this reason, IKV is working together with Ford on three projects concerned with the design and optimisation of three different structural components.

Research target

The aim of the first project is to develop a method for calculating the service life, taking account of the boundary conditions. This method should enable a reliable design of cyclically loaded composite parts, and allow the project partner to specify a load spectrum that produces the same damage development as a real load profile.

In the second project, the lightweight construction potential of an existing wishbone is being examined. The basis for this is a topology optimisation on the available build volume, taking into account the load paths. Based on the topology optimisation, a structural mechanical design will be carried out and a corresponding manufacturing strategy developed. The aim is to achieve weight savings of approx. 30 %.

In the third project, a numerical design of coil springs made of glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP) is being carried out. The aim is to obtain a better understanding of the mechanical behaviour and to derive criteria for evaluating the quality of the sub-components. This includes analysing the status quo of the coil springs and modelling the mechanical behaviour via creep and fatigue tests. 

Project partners

Maiko Ersch, M.Sc.

Head of departement Part Design and Materials Technology +49 241 80-28359 maiko.ersch@ikv.rwth-aachen.de