ManufacturingJanuary 16, 2020

Simulating a Vehicle’s Chassis and Suspension Strength

A vehicle is composed of many components and subsystems that keep it…
Avatar Clare Scott

A vehicle is composed of many components and subsystems that keep it running safely and smoothly. But while those smaller components and subsystems are important and must be carefully simulated and tested, the larger elements of the vehicle must not be overlooked. The chassis is one of the important parts of the car, and its structural integrity is critical to the success of the vehicle as a whole. The suspension is what supports the vehicle body, and its design and fabrication play a vital role in ensuring the vehicle rides and handles well, along with meeting regulations and quality requirements – which have become stricter recently due to changes to WLTP, for example.

Overall changes in vehicle manufacturing, such as the rise of the electric car, make it even more challenging to develop a single validation platform – particularly a multi-energy platform – that can accommodate a variety of vehicle models and types. Also, one way to improve a vehicle’s steering and handling is to reduce the suspension’s unsprung mass while maintaining its stiffness and strength, but that becomes more challenging to accomplish with the large batteries required for electric cars, which are heavier than typical vehicles and have their own unique requirements.

SIMULIA’s range of simulation tools are designed to meet this challenge, as well as the other demands that go along with validating chassis and suspension strength, durability and vibration. These tools include a best-in-class structural solver with advanced functionalities such as co-simulation. These functionalities can ensure important factors such as strength, stiffness and stress. A fatigue life tool, validated with more than 3500 physical fatigue test results, can predict spot and seam weld.

Simulation can be performed at every level, from individual components to the entire assembled suspension subsystem to the vehicle as a whole. Without needing to build a physical prototype, engineers can predict component and system performance, saving costs by reducing time to market and eliminating the need for late-phase design changes.

Numerous chassis and suspension applications exist, such as material calibration, bushing stiffness, component optimization, spot and seam weld fatigue life, suspension system durability, and system abuse load case. SIMULIA’s tools can be used to address all of these and more. In terms of vehicle performance, these simulation tools improve ride and handling by engineering the suspension components with the correct stiffness and strength, as well as decreasing weight. They also ensure that permanent deformation after abuse load cases is within tolerable bounds.

Vehicles are changing, but some things will always remain the same. A vehicle will always need a strong, reliable chassis and lightweight, effective suspension system. New regulations and types of cars may make achieving those elements more difficult, but simulation tools are becoming more advanced to ensure that manufacturers can continue to save time and money while delivering optimal vehicles.

Want to learn more about developing better chassis systems? Visit our solution page.

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