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Experimental and Analytical Study of the Crashworthiness for the 2005 Ford GT Aluminum Spaceframe

[+] Author Affiliations
Ari G. Caliskan, Richard A. Jeryan, Huibert Mees

Ford Motor Company

Simon Iregbu

Ove Arup & Partners Detroit, Ltd.

Paper No. IMECE2005-83019, pp. 427-437; 11 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Engineering/Technology Management
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Engineering and Technology Management Group
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4230-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


The use of aluminum structures in the automobile industry have been increasing in the past decade due partly to the demand for light-weight vehicles, and in some instances, lower investment costs. In the case of the 2005 Ford GT, an aluminum spaceframe architecture was chosen. The spaceframe structure consists mainly of extruded 6xxx series aluminum profiles with aluminum castings acting as suspension attachment points. The aluminum castings, located at both the front and rear of the vehicle, also act as nodes to which a number of extrusions are welded. This architecture resulted in a very stiff, yet light-weight vehicle. In addition to stiffness and weight advantages, the use of both aluminum members and the spaceframe construction proved to have good crashworthiness properties for all impact modes. In this paper, the crash performance of the front end of the vehicle consisting of an extruded bumper and double-cell rail system is shown. Once the components were manufactured, specimen level tests were conducted to measure the stress-strain behavior of the extruded material. This information, along with the geometric data of the bumper and rails, was used to create models of the front-end of the vehicle. A series of analyses were conducted using a rigid barrier impact to determine crush loads as well as mode of collapse. Concurrently, the components were assembled and tested using a sled impact facility at speeds comparable to full vehicle impact speeds. The results of the component tests and the analyses showed that the models predicted both the crush loads as well as the crush modes accurately. This validation exercise proved to be key in creating accurate full vehicle models for all the crash modes that are required for certification of the vehicle. As such, development time as well as the number of full vehicle tests was reduced.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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