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Innovative concepts for the usage of veneer-based hybrid materials in vehicle structures

: Heyner, David Benjamin; Piazza, Giovanni; Beeh, Elmar; Seidel, Georg; Friedrich, Horst E.; Kohl, Daniel; Nguyen, Hoa; Burgold, Claudia; Berthold, Dirk

Fulltext ()

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part L, Journal of materials: Design and applications 235 (2021), No.6, pp.1302-1311
ISSN: 1464-4207
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer WKI ()
materials design; materials research; materials testing; hybrid materials; vehicle structure; beech; laminated veneer lumber; door impact beam

A promising approach for the development of sustainable and resource-saving alternatives to conventional material solutions in vehicle structures is the use of renewable raw materials. One group of materials that has particular potential for this application is wood. The specific material properties of wood in the longitudinal fiber direction are comparable to typical construction materials such as steel or aluminum. Due to its comparatively low density, there is a very high lightweight construction potential especially for bending load cases. Structural components of the vehicle body are exposed to very high mechanical loads in the case of crash impact. Depending on the component under consideration, energy has to be absorbed and the structural integrity of the body has to be ensured in order to protect the occupants. The use of natural materials such as wood poses particular challenges for such applications. The material characteristics of wood are dispersed, and depend on environmental factors such as humidity. The aim of the following considerations was to develop a material system to ensure the functional reliability of the component. The test boundary conditions for validation also play a key role in this context. The potential of wood–steel hybrid design based on laminated veneer lumber and steel was investigated for use in a component subjected to crash loads such as the door impact beam. The chosen solution involves a separation of functions. A laminated veneer lumber-based beam was hybridized with a steel strip on the tension side. The steel strip was designed to compensate the comparatively low elongation at fracture of the wood and to ensure the integrity of the beam. The wooden component was designed for high energy absorption due to delamination and controlled failure during the impact, while maintaining the surface moment of inertia, i.e. the bending stiffness of the entire component. This approach was chosen to ensure the functional safety of the component, avoid sudden component failure and utilize the high potential of both materials. The tests carried out provided initial functional proof of the chosen solution. The hybridization achieved significantly higher deformations without sudden failure of the beam. In addition, bending capabilities were increased significantly compared to a beam without hybridization. In comparison with a state-of-the-art steel beam, the hybrid beam was not able to achieve the maximum deformation and the target weight of the hybrid beam. Further optimization of the hybrid beam is therefore necessary.