Aluminum intensive vehicles developed in recent years illustrated that vehicle weight reduction and consequential fuel saving are possible while maintaining the performance and manufacturability of contemporary steel designs. There are numerous processing and in-service performance requirements for structural materials in automotive applications. Vehicle collision tests are often the most critical automotive design requirements. The computational models of vehicle impact need to capture complex deformation occurring during impact, and it is not unusual to have vehicle models consisting of 50,000 or more finite elements.

The dissipation of the impact energy and the extent of deformation have to be accurately calculated in order to result in a realistic crash simulation model that can be applied to various impact scenarios. It is also critical that material behavior be well understood in complex impact loading in order to design structures and mechanisms that protect vehicle occupants.

This project is focused on the development of a detailed crashworthiness model of aluminum intensive vehicle using computational simulations. The developed model will be primarily used as a simulation platform for evaluation and prediction of the effects of advanced manufacturing and materials processing techniques in automotive impact conditions. A verified simulation model will allow for simple component, material and other design modification. The project will also provide an assessment of integrated design and performance of aluminum in automotive collisions with a range of vehicles that are currently being built and representative of the US car fleet.

Project Schedule


Research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Transportation Technologies, Lightweight Materials Program, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with UT-Battelle, LLC.