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Design and Fatigue Life Analysis of a Motorcycle Frame

[+] Author Affiliations
Massimiliano Gobbi, Giorgio Previati, Giampiero Mastinu

Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Paper No. DETC2014-34288, pp. V003T01A036; 7 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 16th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 11th International Conference on Design Education; 7th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4634-6
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


An off-road motorcycle frame has been analyzed and modified to optimize its fatigue life. The fatigue life of the frame is very important to define the service life of the motorcycle.

The strain levels on key parts of the frame were collected during experimental tests. It has been possible to locate the areas where the maximum stress level is reached.

A finite element (FE) model of the frame has been developed and used for estimating its fatigue life. Static test bench results have been used to validate the FE model. The accuracy of the finite element model is good, the errors are always below 5% with respect to measured data.

The mission profile of the motorcycle is dominated by off-road use, with stress levels close to yield point, so a strain-life approach has been applied for estimating the fatigue life of the frame.

Particular attention has been paid to the analysis of the welded connections. A shell and a 3D FE model have been combined to simulate the stress histories at the welds. Two reference maneuvers have been considered as loading conditions. The computed stresses have been used to assess the life of the frame according to the notch stress approach (Radaj & Seeger). The method correlates the stress range in a idealized notch, characterized by a fictitious radius in the weld toe or root, to the fatigue life by using a single S-N curve.

New technical frame layouts have been proposed and verified by means of the developed finite element model.

The considered approach allows to speed up the design process and to reduce the testing phase.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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