A novel multi-cell tubal structure with circular corners for crashworthiness

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Journal Article
Thin-Walled Structures, 2018, 122 pp. 329 - 343
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Multi-cell structures have proven to own excellent energy absorbing capability and lightweight effect in the automotive and aerospace industries. The cross-sectional configuration of the multi-cell structure has a significant effect on crashworthiness. Unlike existing multi-cell tubes, a new type of five-cell profile with four circular elements at the corners (C5C) was proposed in this study. To investigate the crashworthiness of the new C5C tube, finite element (FE) models were first established by using the nonlinear finite element code LS-DYNA and validated with experimental results. Following that, the comparison of the C5C tube and other multi-cell tubes with the same mass was conducted to quantify the relative merits of the C5C tube. Then, a detailed study was performed to analyze the effect of the corner-cell size and wall thickness. Finally, the optimization design was carried out to seek the optimal structure. The results showed that the new multi-cell structure can absorb much more crash energy than other four types of tubes. Moreover, the energy absorption of this new multi-cell tube C5C was affected by the corner-cell size and wall thickness significantly. A proper corner-cell size and slightly thicker internal ribs were recommended. In addition, the multi-objective particle swarm optimization (MOPSO) algorithm and radial basis function (RBF) surrogate model can optimize the structure effectively. The outcomes of the present study will facilitate the design of multi-cell structures with better crashworthiness.
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