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Multi-Disciplinary Design Optimization of a Composite Car Door for Structural Performance, NVH, Crashworthiness, Durability and Manufacturability

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Among various efforts pursued to produce fuel efficient vehicles, light weight engineering (i.e. the use of low-density structurally-efficient materials, the application of advanced manufacturing and joining technologies and the design of highly-integrated, multi-functional components/sub-assemblies) plays a prominent role. In the present work, a multi-disciplinary design optimization methodology has been presented and subsequently applied to the development of a light composite vehicle door (more specifically, to an inner door panel). The door design has been optimized with respect to its weight while meeting the requirements /constraints pertaining to the structural and NVH performances, crashworthiness, durability and manufacturability. In the optimization procedure, the number and orientation of the composite plies, the local laminate thickness and the shape of different door panel segments (each characterized by a given composite-lay-up architecture and uniform ply thicknesses) are used as design variables. The methodology developed in the present work is subsequently used to carry out weight optimization of the front door on Ford Taurus, model year 2001. The emphasis in the present work is placed on highlighting the scientific and engineering issues accompanying multidisciplinary design optimization and less on the outcome of the optimization analysis and the computational resources/architecture needed to support such activity.

Affiliations: 1: International Center for Automotive Research, CU-ICAR Department of Mechanical Engineering Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634 USA;, Email:; 2: International Center for Automotive Research, CU-ICAR Department of Mechanical Engineering Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634 USA; 3: Altair Engineering Inc. 1820 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, MI 48083 USA


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