Composite Crash Workshop 2018

Composite Crash Workshop 2018

25th March 2019

By Sachin Francis & Vivekendra Singh

On the 13th and 14th of September 2018, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg – Sweden, hosted a gathering of experts to discuss the Crash behaviour of composite materials. The crash workshop was jointly organised by Chalmers University of Technology and RISE SICOMP AB (previously Swerea SICOMP AB), who invited experts from academia and industry to initiate discussions on the state-of-the-art of material modelling and characterisation of composites in crash situation.

The aim of the workshop was to identify and discuss research challenges in the use of composites for crash energy absorption purposes and how these should be addressed for future structures. The ambition was also to increase networking amongst researchers who are active in the field. The format of the workshop consisted of invited talks with topical discussion sessions.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to presentations that gave an overview of work done so far from Northern Ireland to North America, of course, including the hosts Sweden. It officially kicked off with an overview of Crash modelling done at Queens University of Belfast, Northern Ireland headed by Brain Falzon who is also coordinating the ICONIC research project focused on Improving the crashworthiness of composite transportation structures.

Following this session, Johan Jergeus gave an overview of analysis and modelling work done in Volvo Cars. A clear case for the need of better modelling and analysis techniques and the computational challenges associated with it was demonstrated by showing the change in complexity of CAE models that grew from 300K to more than 10 million degrees of freedom in the state-of-the-art crash simulations.

As an answer to the need of better modelling techniques requested from industry, Robin Olsson presented the modelling work carried out in RISE SICOMP AB. He presented the material characterization of NCF material and the crash modelling done with physically based models. Apart from that he also gave brief input on strain-rate depended models, discontinuous composites for crash and process modelling work going on in RISE SICOMP.

This concluded the morning session after which guests had lunch and the afternoon session started with a seminar. The seminar session was used to initiate an open discussion among the participants on the seminar theme. The first theme was “Realism of models and industrial demands” and this session was headed by Robin Olsson. It started with two presentations, one from Daniel Berglund from RISE SICOMP AB on effect of manufacturing process on crash performance of multi-material designs involving metals and composites. The second was given by Alastair Johnson on damage modelling work done in DLR. The discussions showed a general interest in research done in crash modelling. With industry moving towards more predictable models it was clear that this is a hot topic.

The next presentation was given by Reza Vaziri from the University of British Columbia, Canada, who presented the crash modelling work carried out in North America and an interesting insight into a Round Robin exercise done on crash modelling and its outcome, which points towards need for physical based models for better predictions.

This was followed by presentation from Martin Fagerström of Chalmers University of Technology who talked about crash projects in Sweden. Computationally efficiency was the core of his presentation which showcased use of efficient finite element-based modelling methods. This presentation initiated the next seminar session on the same topic of efficient structural models for crash. All in all, it was an interesting day with lots of insight from academia and industry on crash modelling. We wrapped up the day with boat ride to picturesque location on the lake side of Åskim with all the guests where we had dinner and time for some networking.

During the second day, discussion sessions were organised and we could listen to talks given by several senior scientists to get an idea of their research fields and expertise.

The day started with the presentations focussed on novel composite materials. Yi Wan from University of Tokyo talked about Japanese point of view of composites in crash situation including manufacturing and characterisation of discontinuous carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic in crash applications. Silvestre Pinho from Imperial College London talked about novel composite microstructures for increased energy absorption.

During coffee breaks, we also presented our posters summarizing the research projects currently being conducted by the Chalmers and RISE SICOMP. Discussing our work was enjoyable – in particular, figuring out how to pitch the idea to delegates from different professional backgrounds.

The first seminar session of the day was focussed on strain rate behaviour of composite materials. Hannes Körber from TU Munich presented his work on strain rate behaviour of composites followed by discussion session initiated by Nathalie Toso from DLR Stuttgart, George Lambeas from University of Patras, Mark Pankow from NC State University and coordinated by Robin Olsson from RISE SICOMP.

It was interesting to see how this workshop brings together specialists and PhD students with such a wide range of different expertise: from industry to academia, from material characterisation to material modelling, but all are dedicated to improving the crashworthiness of composite structures.

After lunch, David Moncayo from Daimler AG gave a German overview of composites in cars and Kaj Fredin from Volvo cars talked about demands and cost issues of composite materials for cars. The second seminar session was focussed on cost and manufacturing considerations coordinated by Kaj Fredin and initiated by Yi Wan, Stefan Hallström from KTH and Tony Pickett from the university of Stuttgart.

Networking and mingling were one of the most enjoyable parts of workshop for us. Conference delegates want to chat and share their work, and a well-organised event gives many chances for this. Through poster sessions, coffee breaks and evening socials, we chatted to people from all over the world and from diverse professional fields. All in all this was a nice experience and looking forward for the next workshop.