Effect of joint design on vehicle bodyshell stiffness
The work presented in this thesis is an investigation into vehicle bodyshell structural joints, with the aim of improving their stiffness. The bodyshell joint is defined to be an area or sub-structure containing the intersection of beam-type members, the behaviour of which may be defined by a matrix determined experimentally or analytically by using the finite element method. An actual bodyshell was tested on a suitably designed rig and the primary displacement modes affecting the steady state and vibration response of a bodyshell were identified and the relevant stiffness measured by using a special transducer. The joint rotational displacements were measured in these modes and the relative importance of the joints obtained. The joints were then modified by the addition of stiffening plates and the effect on the various stiffnesses noted. To assist the analyst, a similar study was performed on the effectiveness of the panels, such as roof, floor and rear quarter. A finite element beam model was established for the bodyshell and modified until a good approximation was achieved with respect to the experiments. Some practical modification of three selected joints cut from the bodyshell was done in order to improve their stiffness. A theoretical study of the influence of spot welding size and spacing on the stiffness of two plates was made. A finite element model of an actual body joint was established and the effect on stiffness of various modifications was observed.