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Title: Effects of rear bumper beam deletion on the perception of steering performance of commercial vehicles
Author: Banks, Alan James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 5017
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2015
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In order to remain competitive in the marketplace, all motor vehicle manufacturers face difficult decisions with regard to balancing cost vs. feature. That is to say that the manufacturer must balance the cost of the product to the customer to remain competitive whilst offering appropriate technology and standard features required by that customer. All motor manufacturers are therefore under pressure to keep costs of nonfeature items to a minimum. One of the cost reductions items prevalent on most vehicles is the deletion of the structural member that attaches the rear bumper, known as the bumper beam (RBB), which is researched in this Thesis. This generates average vehicle savings of $20 and, as this is invisible to the customer, should enable the manufacturers to realise a significant saving or allow this revenue to be spent on additional feature without loss of vehicle function. However, in nearly all cases, deletion of the rear bumper beam has the effect of degrading the steering responses of the vehicle by 1 to 1½ rating points (out of 10), which is contrary to the premise of cost reductions; which is to ensure that vehicle function is unaffected. Initial analysis of vehicles with deleted rear bumper beams cannot show an objective measurable difference in any vehicle behaviours with or without the beam fitted, and hence CAE studies using ADAMS models cannot verify the effects of the bumper beam. It was necessary to employ unconventional modelling and testing methods such as rigid body, flexible body model techniques as well as experimental studies included driving robots and expert driver appraisals. The research demonstrated that vehicle modelling methods currently used, cannot establish or predict the complete vehicle ride and handling status. A total vehicle model approach should be used without separating the body CAE model and vehicle dynamics ADAMS model into separate entities. Furthermore, it was concluded that the determination to the effects of body hysteresis rather than pure stiffness is of crucial importance and that the steering attribute could be maintained with the deletion of the RBB analytically.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Steering ; Performance ; Perception ; Analytical ; Modelling ; Objective ; ADAMS ; Stiffness ; Hysteresis ; Rear bumper beam deletion