The objective of this project is to develop analytical and numerical tools that efficiently predict the behavior of carbon-fiber based composites in vehicular crash worthiness simulations. This project focuses specifically on molded polymeric matrix composites, and considers loading conditions and strain rates that arise in vehicular impacts.

While the short and intermediate goals are to provide approaches and numerical methods to simulate automotive components during impact events using the composite mechanical properties, the long term goal strives to predict both the mechanical properties and response of carbon-fiber composites from basic constituent properties, molding conditions, and the manufacturing technique. This project continues constitutive material modeling work for glass-fiber composite materials crashworthiness.


Developed constitutive material models for fiber reinforced polymer composites in automotive crash situations. The developed models have been successfully used in simulation and prediction of crash behavior of automotive composite structures at the U.S. automobile companies.


These predictive tools are intended to decrease the design process time and cost, by reducing component testing, and to increase the simulation accuracy of carbon-fiber reinforced structures. The tools are intended to supplement and be run in conjunction with existing crash simulation software.

What's Next:

The complete progressive damage constitutive models, in conjunction with structural testing and microscope observations to identify and classify the complex damage mechanism, will be incorporated into finite element code such as DYNA3D to solve the large scale problems for automobile components and systems. Moreover, crush tests for the composite tube will be performed to determine the validity of the current damage constitutive models for carbon fiber composites.

Research Partners:

Automotive Composites Consortium
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


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.