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Development of Best Practices and Identification of Breakthrough Technologies in Automotive Engineering Simulation

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Major organisations in the European automotive industry have seen substantial benefit from the integration of modelling and simulation into their design process. Today, there is a need for more widespread adoption of engineering simulation throughout the supply chain. At the same time, technology is being developed that offers the potential to reach a new generation of advanced applications. The main objective of Autosim project was to contribute substantially to advancing design techniques in the European automotive industry. The broad objectives of Autosim can be summarised as follows: - to improve the quality and robustness of modelling and simulation in the European automotive industry within an integrated design and product development environment; - to facilitate the use of advanced simulation technologies (finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, and related methods) within a multi-site, multi-organisational environment; - to improve technology and knowledge transfer between engineering practitioners within the automotive industry; - to identify potential breakthrough technologies which could have a profound effect on the use of simulation techniques for automotive applications; - to identify technology gaps and areas where RTD activity is needed. Autosim established an international team of leading experts representing much of the European automotive industry. They developed a preliminary set of 'best practice' guidelines, standard analytical procedures and research strategies. They consulted afterwards with the wider automotive industry to gain feedback on the preliminary documents and establish credibility of the final documents. Today, simulation is typically used under predefined, predicted, and controlled conditions. The current state of the art seems to couple two disciplines, such as structural analysis and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). But a car—tested as it would be driven—should have been tested by simulation for a combination of concurrent factors, such as occupant safety, CFD, multi-body systems, structural dynamics, fatigue, and the like. Simulation and analysis should become more comprehensive. We should proceed in the areas of multi-physics and multi-disciplinary optimisation. It has been determined from the work carried out in Autosim that the principal areas of interest and concern regarding CAE confidence relate to the validation of CAE models, CAE staff training, the quality of model material data and the discretisation of CAE models. With materials characterisation clearly of high importance, a methodology is needed to ensure that characterisation of materials is reliable, accurate and achieving best practice; this should also ensure that novel materials can be introduced as early as possible. Development of an extended database holding not only basic material properties but also essential information regarding, for example, the effect of forming processes on material behaviour is essential. Close collaboration between vehicle manufacturers, material suppliers, testing houses and software developers will be required to achieve this.