Over the past decades, light-weight vehicles, e.g. electric cars, have been widely advocated in an effort to reduce energy usage and be more environmentally friendly. This emphasis on weight reduction has led to significant deterioration in the energy dissipation capabilities. As such, crashworthiness enhancement has once again become a critical issue. However, the design based on conventional structures is becoming more difficult, and the employment of high-strength materials much costlier. In order to achieve light weight, a large safety margin and low cost, a high-performance energy absorption component utilising both material enhancement and structural design optimization in the energy absorber design is developed.
Since most light-weight structures involve thin-walled frames, Surface Mechanical Attrition Treatment (SMAT) was used to induce nanocrystalline structures in steel for strength enhancement without sacrificing ductility. Structural optimization of the energy absorber was also carried out through extensive experiments and numerical simulations. The final product is lighter and has high-safety impact levels compared to similar products on the present market. In addition, a SMAT treatment prototype machine has also been developed for product fabrication.
The proposed technology combines the following features:
Potential applications (but not limited to) are:
Potential adopters will be the companies designing and fabricating critical parts related to the crashworthiness of the transportation systems, e.g. automotive parts OEMs.
The developed technology has the following advantages: