Topology Optimization of Vehicle Body Structure in the Early Design Phase

Dr. Harald Hasselblad, Volvo Car Corporation, Sweden
EHTC Bonn (Germany), November 8-9, 2011

Ride and handling are important areas for safety and improved vehicle control during driving. To meet the demands on ride and handling a number of measures can be taken. This master thesis work has focused on the early design phase. At the early phases of design, the level of details is low and the design freedom is big. By introducing a tool to support the early vehicle body design, the potential of finding more efficient structures increases. In this study, topology optimization of a vehicle front structure has been performed using OptiStruct by Altair Engineering. The objective has been to find the optimal topology of beams and rods to achieve high stiffness of the front structure for improved ride and handling. Based on topology optimization a proposal for a beam layout in the front structure area has been identified.

A vital part of the project has been to describe how to use topology optimization as a tool in the design process. During the project different approaches has been studied to come from a large design space to a low weight architecture based on a beam-like structure. The different approaches will be described and our experience and recommendations will be presented. Also the general result of an topology optimized architecture and an example of a realization for vehicle body stiffness will be presented.

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