Crashworthiness of Carbon Fiber Composites
The weight savings and crashworthiness potential of fiber reinforced composites for vehicles have been demonstrated in the last two decades primarily by impact experiments. The studies have also shown a need for a tight control of the loading conditions as relatively small deviations from ideal impact conditions can lead to catastrophic failures and correspondingly minimal impact energy dissipation. In order for vehicle designers to use carbon fiber (CF) composites to their full capacity, they need to understand the governing deformation mechanisms and have validated and predictive simulation tools.
The objective of this project is a systematic evaluation and validation of currently existing technology for characterizing and modeling carbon fiber composite crashworthiness. Ultimately, our goal is to develop validated computer models to facilitate the expansion of CF composites into a broad range of structural automotive applications. The models will support rapid design and optimization, wider use of CF composites in passenger vehicles, significant vehicle weight reduction and corresponding increase in energy efficiency.