Image crash composite behaviour
​Image by courtesy of Volvo Car Group

Crash behaviour of composites

​The increase of composite materials in future vehicles will lead to lighter and more efficient ways of transportation. However, these new structures will also have an impact on vehicle behaviour in crashes. This was the topic discussed by participants from both academia and industry during a two-day workshop at Chalmers University of Technology.

Kaj Fredin from Volvo Cars explained that the potential to reduce the weight of a car using current metallic materials is very limited. All premium original equipment manufacturers are therefore working with carbon fibre reinforced polymers in different ways. Even though there are still industrial challenges connected to cost and competence in this new and less developed area. The challenge will be to find the optimal mix of material usage to have a cost-efficient product. David Moncayo from Daimler AG, who talked about German design experiences for composites in cars, said that the beauty lies in using the correct material in the correct place.

New crash prediction models and Mantis shrimps

Since crash simulations and testing currently are focused on a metallic car structure there is an urgent need for new predictive numerical models for future lightweight vehicles. A major challenge that was addressed repeatedly during the workshop is the need to develop models which are both accurate and computationally efficient in predicting the failure process of structural composite components in crash. Martin Fagerström and Robin Olsson, organizers of the workshop, are currently involved in several projects with the hopes of having a full-scale crash analysis method in place by 2020.

Silvestre Pinho from the Imperial College

By having composites as part of the impact structure it also follows that there will be a greater need for composite microstructures that can absorb high energy impact. Silvestre Pinho from the Imperial College talked about finding inspiration in nature’s own designs. The studies ranged from bamboo and bone structures to different shells and interlocking nacre. But the most spectacular may perhaps be the Mantis Shrimps super hard hitting dactyle clubs with a Bouligand -type microstructure. The question still to be answered, can the structure of the high impact absorbing club be transferred into human engineered vehicles?

Reoccurring series of events?

Mingle imageThe organizers Martin Fagerström and Robin Olsson were very pleased with the outcome of the workshop and would like to thank all the participants and sponsors for making this a very interesting event, and especially the invited speakers, Brian Falzon; Johan Jergeus; Reza Vaziri; Yi Wan; David Moncayo; Kaj Fredin; Silvestre Pinho and Hannes Körber.

Martin hopes that this was the beginning of a reoccurring series of events.

- I am already looking forward to the next one!

More information

The purpose of the workshop, jointly organised by Chalmers University of Technology and Swerea SICOMP, was to gather international experts in academia and industry to discuss current state-of-the-art in the area of modelling and characterisation of composites in crash.

The event was sponsored by:

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Worksshop talks

​Title​ ​Speaker
Crash modelling at QUB and the ICONIC resea​rch network
​Brian Falzon (Queens Univ. Belfast)
​Crash modelling and experiments at Swerea SICOMP ​Robin Olsson (SICOMP)​
​North American work on crash behaviour of composites ​Reza Vaziri (Univ British Columbia)
​Crash modelling at Chalmers and in Swedish crash projects ​Martin Fagerström (Chalmers Univ Techn.)
​Japanese studies of composites in crash ​Jun Takahashi and Yi Wan (Univ. Tokyo)​
​Novel composite microstructures for increased energy absorption ​Silvestre Pinho (Imperial College)
​Strain rate behaviour of composite materials ​Hannes Körber (TU Munich)
​German design experience for composites in cars ​David Moncayo (Daimler AG)
​Composite materials for cars – demands and cost issues ​Kaj Fredin (Volvo Cars)​
​Current methods for crash simulation and testing ​Johan Jergeus (Volvo Cars)

Workshop topical discussion sessions

Realism of models and industrial demands
Efficient structural models for composites in crash
Strain rate behaviour of composites
Cost and manufacturing considerations and their implication on crash

Organizing committee

Martin Fagerström

Robin Olsson ​

Published: Fri 21 Sep 2018.