Modeling of Materials for the Design of Lightweight and Resilient Vehicle Structures

Principal Investigator: Nickolas Vlahopoulos, University of Michigan,
Student: Alyssa Bennett, University of Michigan
Government: Ravi Thyagarajan, Matt Castanier, Scott Shurin, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Nam Purush, BAE Systems
Weiran Jiang, Ford Motor Company

This project began in 2016.

DEM model; the yellow DEM particles are constrained to stay between the two platesLighter weight vehicles is an enabling factor for faster transport, higher mobility, greater fuel conservation, higher payload and a reduced ground footprint of supporting forces. At the same time high levels of protection must be offered by the vehicle to its occupants against explosive threats. Weight reduction and high levels of survivability are mutually competing objectives.

This research bridges the gap between material design/selection and the overall structural design of a vehicle. New multiscale simulation and Reduced Order Model (ROM) methodologies are developed for materials of interest to TARDEC. The new research uses as foundation previous ARC accomplishments in multi‐scale modeling of composites and reduced order modeling of multi‐layer panels. Decision support methodologies from Engineered Resilient Systems (ERS) will fuse the material design and selection with the development of lightweight vehicle structures.

The new technology developed by this project is based on absorbing energy and reducing the response of lightweight structures to any type of dynamic loads. Damping the response of structures is also essential for isolating the optical sensors and electronics in autonomous vehicles from the dynamic environment. Excessive base motion interferes and distorts the information that autonomous systems utilize for navigating.

Previous Publications:

  • Jiang, W., Bennett, A., Vlahopoulos, N., Castanier, M. et al., "A Reduced‐Order Model for Evaluating the Dynamic Response of Multilayer Plates to Impulsive Loads," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars ‐ Mech. Syst. 9(1):2016, doi:10.4271/2016‐01‐0307.
  • W. Jiang, N. Vlahopoulos, M. P. Castanier, R. Thyagarajan, S. Mohammad, "Tuning material and component properties to reduce weight and increase blastworthiness of a notional V-hull structure", Case Studies in Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, Vol. 2, Pp. 19-28, Dec. 2015. doi:10.1016/j.csmssp.2015.10.001
  • W. Jiang, N. Vlahopoulos, M. Castanier, R. Thyagarajan, S. Mohammad, "Reducing Structural Weight and Increasing Protection in Simple Structures Subjected to Blast Loads", NDIA Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium (GVSETS) Modeling & Simulation, Testing and Validation (MSTV) Mini-Symposium August 12-14 2014, Novi, MI. DTIC download