Modeling and analysis of a composite B-Pillar for side-impact protection of occupants in a sedan

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Reddy, Santosh
Lankarani, Hamid M.

Cars safety became an issue almost immediately after the invention of the automobile. To protect occupants from a direct impact, the passenger compartment and the structure of the vehicle should keep its shape in a crash. Continuous developments to improve is proposed everyday, standards are set in pertinent to different crash scenarios such as the frontal crash, side impact and so on. Among these standards, side impact is one of the most fatal crash scenarios that lead to death of people in the United States and across the globe. In the contemporary world, fuel consumption also poses a serious issue that has to be considered. With these constraints in consideration, a lighter and stronger material than steel, the composite material, can be used. Using this material would help in reducing the fuel efficiency without sacrificing the safety of the vehicle. With the advance in computer simulations, finite element (FE) model of the Ford Taurus and Moving Deformable Barrier (MDB) developed by the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) has been used for different impact scenarios to predict the vehicle behavior and occupant response. In addition, MSC Patran has been used as the modeler and LS-Dyna as the solver to run the required simulations. MADYMO is used to predict the injury parameters. In this research, a composite B-Pillar that is the energy absorbing structure is modeled and analyzed with Finite Element Analysis. The injuries sustained by the occupant are predicted using Madymo. An attempt is made to use carbon and glass fiber composite materials in the B-Pillar modeled in this study. In addition, a parametric study is carried out on the B-Pillar to determine the maximum possible energy absorbing parameters. It is demonstrated that the new modeling with the use of carbon/glass with a pertinent orientation and thickness may present more energy absorption than the present steel pillar. Energy absorption, displacement and the acceleration of the present and the new model are also compared and discussed in detail. Occupant injuries, such as chest and head injuries are compared for the vehicle occupants with present and the new model. It is demonstrated that the new B-Pillar composite model with carbon may be more effective than the present steel pillar.

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Thesis (M.S.)--Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering