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Project Outcomes


Materials & Crash testing

An improved understanding of the behaviour of automotive materials at impact speed is driven by the challenges of diverse crash legislation and competition amongst car makers. The strength of a material is dependent on the speed at which it is deformed. In the industry this is called the strain rate effect. The higher the strain rate the higher the strength, but other important mechanical properties e.g. ductility, are also affected.
New advanced high strength steels and aluminium alloys are increasingly attractive in vehicles with demanding crashworthiness requirements, and offer a potential for improved design-packaging efficiency, reduced cost and weight. At the outset of this project no general standards were in place for the high speed testing of materials, their characterisation, modelling and validation for transport applications.
This project is working towards establishing procedures to model and validate material data with strain rate dependency for new and conventional materials. The initial pull for this technology is to minimise risk and cost to introduce new advanced materials into car body structures; to enable innovative car body designs that achieve the maximum NCAP score and compliance to international crash legislation; and to enable greater efficiency in product development by using virtual crash test technology. An important objective for car makers is to achieve product safety certification through virtual testing alone, and this highly desirable goal will have an impact on automotive competitiveness in the UK.
Technical Outcomes

The technical achievements of this project will centre on new data, models, processes, tools and measurement technology. Specifically the technical outcomes will focus on:
  1. Establishing a new high speed materials testing laboratory located within the University of Warwick.
  2. Improved measurement techniques for high speed materials testing.
  3. New ‘implementation ready material models’ with strain rate dependency for selected high strength steels and aluminium alloys, formatted for input to crash simulation software used by the industry.
  4. Disseminating new knowledge in high speed materials testing technology through publication in journals and at conferences.
  5. Developing test procedures and processes to generate, characterise and validate material strain rate sensitivity data for automotive crash applications in partnership with industry.
  6. Developing new material models for use with steel and aluminium materials (based on empirical constitutive law) with the capability to fit test data to high accuracy.
  7. Developing tools for pre-processing raw material strain rate sensitivity data to optimise fit to new material model for steel and aluminium alloys and ensure consistency in application.
  8. Developing an understanding of the factors which promote uncertainty in applying simulation technology to modelling crash structures, and establish a revision on current practical guidelines in partnership with industry.
  9. Developing and validating a more robust virtual crash testing capability, which models tolerance scale random variation arising collectively from materials, geometry and test boundary conditions (so called noise factors) using stochastic simulation.
  10. Demonstrate wider versatility of high speed test laboratory, e.g. polymer composite materials showing speed dependency, high speed joint testing and characterisation of material coupons.





In association with ...


Birmingham City University

University of Wolverhampton


Oxford Brookes University