A Finite Element Study of Shell and Solid Element Performance in Crash-box Simulations

The aluminium profile has the characteristic of having different thickness over span ratios within the profile. This characteristic provided the opportunity to conduct a performance investigation of shell and solid elements with finite element analysis.

This project comprehends a series of nonlinear numerical studies with the finite element software’s LS-Dyna and Impetus AFEA. The main focus lies on a comparative crash analysis of an aluminium beam profile which the company Sapa technology has used during their crash analysis.

The performance investigation of shell and solid elements was initiated by creating models of the aluminium profile for general visualization and to facilitate the meshing of surfaces. The meshing procedure was considered to be an important factor of the analysis. The mesh quality and element or ientations were carefully monitored in order to achieve acceptable results when the models were compared to physical tests.

Preliminary simulations were further conducted in order to obtain a clear understanding of software parameters when performing crash simulations in LS-Dyna and Impetus AFEA. The investigated parameters were element formulations and material models. A general parameter understanding facilitated in the selection of parameters for actual simulations, where material failure and damage models were used.

In conclusion, LS-Dyna was observed to provide a bigger internal energy absorption during the crushing of the beam with longer simulation times for solid elements when compared to shell elements. Impetus AFEA did on the other hand provide results close to physical test data with acceptable simulation times when compared to physical tests.

The result difference obtained from the FE-software’s in relation to physical crash experiments were considered to be varied but did indicate that shell elements were efficient enough for the specific profile during simulations with LS-Dyna. Impetus AFEA proved that the same time to be numerically efficient for energy approximations with solid elements refined with the third polynomial.
Source: University West
Author: Bari, Mahdi

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