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Investigation of Crashworthiness of Structural Composite Components in Vehicle Crash Test Simulations

[+] Author Affiliations
Chung-Kyu Park, Cing-Dao (Steve) Kan

George Washington University, Ashburn, VA

William Thomas Hollowell

WTH Consulting, LLC, Apex, NC

Paper No. IMECE2013-64842, pp. V013T14A037; 13 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 13: Transportation Systems
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5642-0
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


A finite element (FE) model of a baseline and a light-weighted 2007 Chevrolet Silverado, which is a body-on-frame pickup truck, was utilized to evaluate the safety performance of a plastics and composite intensive vehicle (PCIV). By lightweighting steel components in the Silverado using advanced plastics and composites, the original vehicle weight, 2,307 kg, was reduced to 1,874 kg, which is about a 19.0% decrease. As a result, the light-weighted vehicle contains about 442 kg of plastic and composites, which represents about 23.6% of the total weight of the light-weight vehicle. These light-weighted components includes not only non-structural components, but also structural and semi-structural components, such as the bumpers, front-end modules, fenders, door impact beams, A- and B-pillar reinforcements, and ladder frame. The crash performance of these structural components was evaluated by the simulations of four vehicle crash tests: (1) frontal New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) test, (2) frontal Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offset test, (3) side NCAP test, and (4) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 216 roof test. The results show that structural composite components in a vehicle are able to provide equivalent crashworthiness performance to the steel components in frontal and side crash and roof testing configurations.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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