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Title: Lightweighting of stiffness critical advanced high strength steel structures using fibre reinforced plastics
Author: Keating, Elspeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 1473
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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In the drive for lightweighting in many industries, optimum material selection is at the forefront of research. Many solutions are being investigated, including the fabrication of multi-material components. Following a state of the art review of the literature, it has been shown that there is an opportunity to improve basic knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of hybrid steel-FRP materials for lightweight applications. This dissertation explores the potential for designing lightweight automotive steel structures through novel use of lower gauges combined with local reinforcement by fibre-reinforced plastics to achieve desired stiffness performances. The main focus of the work is to provide underpinning research to enable the further understanding of the stiffness performance of hybrid steel-FRP materials, both experimentally and in simulation. This thesis focuses on the characterisation of high strength automotive grade steel (DP600) reinforced with a fibre reinforced polyamide (PA6 GF60) laminate, however, the results are readily applicable for other combinations. The project was achieved through two main phases; each phase consisting of an iteration loop between experimentation and simulation validations. Initial characterisation was achieved using coupon samples in quasi-static three-point bend, cross-validated in simulation providing a trusted material model. Correlating experimental and simulated results showed a potential lightweighting of up to 30 % of a hybrid DP600-GFRP over a DP600 counterpart with a matched stiffness performance. Further characterisation was performed using an idealised automotive component in flexure, confirming a potential lightweighting of up to 30 %. The simulation investigation demonstrated the effect of localised hybrid reinforcements, and identified difficulties in predicting the local geometrical effects of plastic hinging. For an overall application to an automotive body-in-white, these would require further investigating. This thesis has proven that downgauging steel whilst locally reinforcing (intelligent deployment) with FRP patches provides a significant lightweight solution with a matched stiffness performance. A hybrid material model has been validated and the application to an automotive component investigated. This work provides the basic understanding for a direct application in lightweight automotive designs using computer aided engineering (CAE).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council ; Tata Iron and Steel Company
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics