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Fatigue modelling and fast testing methodologies to optimize part design and to boost lightweight materials deployment in chassis parts

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Fatigue4Light (Fatigue modelling and fast testing methodologies to optimize part design and to boost lightweight materials deployment in chassis parts)

Période du rapport: 2021-02-01 au 2022-07-31

Fatigue4Light aims to develop lightweight solutions adapted to the chassis parts of Electric Vehicles to enhance weight reduction compared to current solutions and increase vehicles’ safety due to reduced sprung mass.

Solutions will be based on the introduction of specially developed materials solutions with high fatigue performance, the development of new computer modelling with high fatigue prediction accuracy and new experimental methodologies that reduce the testing time for new materials.

Affordability including critical raw materials for EU assessment, and sustainability of the proposed solutions, will be enhanced based on the application of an eco-design approach supported by the application of LCA and LCC studies.

Fatigue4Light is one of the first projects tackling weight reduction in automotive chassis parts, which is a necessary step to further progress in electric vehicle lightweighting, as reduction of vehicle weight impacts positively in CO2 emissions, electric vehicle autonomy, driveability and security.
The Fatigue4Light project has already reached its halfway point. This period of time has been dedicated to generate high-added value knowledge at material level in the direction of lightweight and eco-friendly design for the automotive industry

Considering recyclability, reparability and LCA principles, a set of materials have been selected and postulate as candidates to achieve the desired weight reduction from a chassis perspective. This selection has been based on an in depth study of the materials from both monotonic and cyclic perspectives accounting for manufacturing effects: cutting, forming and welding. This has been achieved through an extensive experimental campaign for AHSS, PHS, aluminium materials and hybrid solutions combining aluminium and GFRP.

Having the fatigue analysis as the backbone of the project many efforts have been dedicated to advance in this field from an experimental and numerical perspective. On one hand, 3 new approaches have been designed and validated aiming to reduce the involved time and resources in fatigue characterization. Through them, the studied materials have been satisfactory characterized. On the other hand, limitations on the main commercial numerical tools used in the fatigue analysis have been identified and a numerical methodology has been proposed to address them. In this sense, the numerical model created has been fed with the monotonic and cyclic experimental data and its performance has been compared with the one exhibited by industrial codes showing a good agreement. This basic analysis has been followed by an advance study of the fatigue phenomenon that cannot be captured by the conventional methods in which residual strength, load sequence and overload effects have been experimentally studied and numerically reproduced using the new approach.

All this significant advances have been shared with the community through 3 papers in peer reviewed journals, 1 publication in conference proceedings and through several presentations in conferences, forums and colloquiums (SCT2022, EEIGM, ECCOMAS, CHS2, MEDFRACT2, EARPA…) together with intense social networking activities that have allowed the consortium to share the Fatigue4Light approach with the world.
The Fatigue4Light project proposes solutions to achieve significant structural weight reductions on EVs. The fulfilment of this ambitious objective is addressed through a set of key research lines that go beyond the state of the art. The Fatigue4Light is going to…

… propose advanced materials for lightweight design. New materials are studied as potential alternatives for the conventional ones adopting lightweight and LCA perspectives. This includes AHSS, PHS, aluminium and hybrid solutions.

… design new fatigue modelling approach for metals and FRP. A really in depth analysis of the fatigue phenomenon is used to support the weight reduction proposals done during the project. The commercial alternatives are not sufficient and a new methodology is being built to properly address this issue.

… validate advanced testing methods for fatigue characterization. The impact that the set of proposed solutions can have on the market is closely related with the reproducibility of the Fatigue4Light approach. The use of this advanced testing approaches directly tackles this concern by reducing the associated costs and time and even opens the door to further research.

… apply eco-design strategies for EVs. All the developments arisen from the project are supported by the application of LCA and LCC studies in such a way that the obtained results are perfectly aligned with the Europe future perspective.

This path travelled results in some perfectly recognizable scientific and socio-economic impacts: steel chassis and wheel weight reduction, increase efficiency in vehicle development, structural integrity procedures and efficient repair/reuse techniques and effective solutions for reuse, recycling and recovery of materials and all of this resulting in a more competitive, smarter, greener and more connected Europe.