A numerical investigation of the crashworthiness of a composite glider cockpit
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Finite element analysis with explicit time integration is widely used in commercial crash solvers to accurately simulate transient structural problems involving large-deformation and nonlinearity. Technological advances in computer software and hardware have expanded the boundaries of computational expense, allowing designers to analyse increasingly complex structures on desktop computers. This dissertation is a review of the use of finite element analysis for crash simulation, the principles of crashworthy design and a practical application of these methods and principles in the development of a concept energy absorber for a sailplane. Explicit nonlinear finite element analysis was used to do crash simulations of the glass, carbon and aramid fibre cockpit during the development of concept absorbers. The SOL700 solution sequence in MSC Nastran, which invokes the LS-Dyna solver for structural solution, was used. Single finite elements with Hughes-Liu shell formulation were loaded to failure in pure tension and compression and validated against material properties. Further, a simple composite crash box in a mass drop experiment was simulated and compared to experimental results. FEA was used for various crash simulations of the JS1 sailplane cockpit to determine its crashworthiness. Then, variants of a concept energy absorber with cellular aluminium sandwich construction were simulated. Two more variants constructed only of fibre-laminate materials were modelled for comparison. Energy absorption and specific energy absorption were analysed over the first 515 mm of crushing. Simulation results indicate that the existing JS1 cockpit is able to absorb energy through progressive crushing of the frontal structure without collapse of the main cockpit volume. Simulated energy absorption over the first 515 mm was improved from 2232 J for the existing structure, to 9 363 J by the addition of an energy absorber. Specific energy absorption during the simulation was increased from 1063 J/kg to 2035 J/kg.
- Engineering