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Automotive Lightweighting Funding Renewed by White House

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Beth Stackpole
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Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Beth Stackpole   4/26/2012 7:15:25 AM
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Maybe it's the lens in which I look at these things given my beat area for Design News, but it stuck me as interesting that predictive modeling and simulation endeavors are factoring so prominently into DOE funding. Now predictive modeling is different than the simulation (CAE) stuff we talk about here quite a bit. Any intel on what role exactly the predictive models are going to play in the work being done to advance lightweighting and new materials?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Ann R. Thryft   4/26/2012 1:02:27 PM
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Beth, I also noticed the emphasis on predictive modeling. The announcement (link given in the article) is quite brief and doesn't give any more details. Having covered this subject before a little, I suspect it might be aimed at discovering which materials perform best, according to certain specs, for which specific applications, meaning, in different components of the car. I would guess that those specs would combine the required material performance characteristics (toughness, strength, impact resistance, chemical resistance, etc.) of that component with weight saved. To date, AFAIK there's no such automotive materials database, at least for composites or for composites vs metals, only many different manufacturers' claims and specs and tests. If anyone knows any different, please chime in.


Beth Stackpole
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Re: Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Beth Stackpole   4/26/2012 2:17:09 PM
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Well, if there isn't yet a database compiling all of that data, there needs to be, hence why it makes sense that predictive modeling and simulation eat up a sizeable chunk of the funding. Given how easy it is to slant performance metrics and position claims, there needs to be some trusted record of data to draw on so engineers in these fields, using these new materials, can make the best, most informed design choices.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Ann R. Thryft   4/26/2012 2:41:23 PM
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I agree, we need such a database. Although I think the need is less a slanting problem than it is simply having all performance data, apples for apples and bananas for bananas, for specific components, in one place. I'd hate to try to gather all that now just for evaluating different materials for a single component.


Charles Murray
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Re: Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Charles Murray   4/26/2012 8:05:00 PM
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Ann: Like Beth, I also took notice of the predictive modeling part of this effort and wondered what it meant. In addition, I'm wondering if there was any talk in this effort to consider where material costs fit in all of this? Will there be a concerted effort to bring the costs down?

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Beth Stackpole   4/27/2012 7:06:25 AM
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I think costs is definitely a huge factor in the decision making, regardless if the goal is lightweighting and a more environmentally-friendly outcome. It's still needs to be smart business, after all. All of this jives with the feature I just wrote on designing for sustainability that will appear in the June issue and online. And many of the CAD/PLM vendors are striking partnerships with providers of these materials/sustainability databases, who's bread and butter is this information, and creating tight links so engineers can access the tools while they're in their familiar CAD environment.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation/analysis playing a key role
Ann R. Thryft   4/27/2012 1:30:47 PM
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Chuck, the very brief announcement doesn't contain any more details. Considering how important cost is in automotive manufacturing, I'd guess that it would be a major factor, as well as performance characteristics, of predictive modeling for both composites and lightweight steel.


TJ McDermott
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Lightweight city vehicle safety class
TJ McDermott   4/26/2012 10:30:33 AM
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I think one way to help with this goal would be a new safety class, for light weight vehicles intended for city use, at lower speeds.  The vehicle can be lighter, the safety equipment reduced.  Lighter weight, lower cost, better fuel efficiency, all without the need for new materials (though such materials would also help with this class).

 

NadineJ
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
NadineJ   4/26/2012 11:30:38 AM
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@TJ:  That's an interesting idea.  But, would it work in the US given that our car culture is centered on independence and mobility.  Could another possibility be to beta test newer technologies in public transportation or partner with delivery companies, such as UPS or FedEx?

I haven't been following this issue closely.  Why is it interesting that the DOE's announcement came the day after the American Iron and Steel Institute released its industry profile?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
Ann R. Thryft   4/26/2012 1:46:48 PM
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TJ, I think a new vehicle class definition is a great idea, since a different "subspecies" of small city car seems to be evolving anyway.


TJ McDermott
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
TJ McDermott   4/26/2012 1:50:14 PM
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Relaxing the safety standard for a city car reduces weight, cost, complexity.  A city car would not be expected to survive a crash at interstate highway speeds.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
Ann R. Thryft   4/26/2012 2:07:22 PM
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The one thing I already worry about with small city cars is, what about all those huge trucks and buses they could run into? The safety standards would have to protect against low-speed crashes with huge vehicles, as well as with other small cars.

 

Jerry dycus
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
Jerry dycus   4/27/2012 12:48:23 PM
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  Hi Ann and All,

               2 very small car types do very well in protection.  The Kei Car Class of Japan is this size and they are the safest cars there.

              Second example is a 1000 lb?  F-1 hitting objects at 200mph and walking away.

             Here under products then EV safety is a small composite car head on into an Audi 100.  Other ones around the site are the exact kinds of composite vehicles of the future, at least for smart people and just like what I'm building.
Introduction : This department specializes in the development of lighweight designs and structures for vehicles driven by electricity or other means, always with a ...

www.horlacher.com/products_services/ev_development/index.htm

 

             Next in composites they can get 45% weight reduction now using medium tech composites, not 50% but costs are equal or less than steel. 

            Fact is composites are not used because big auto doesn't want to use them I think because they don't rust away and if become common, anyone could start up a car company for $100M instead $1B for steel. Both just mean less car sales for them.

            

 

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
Ann R. Thryft   4/27/2012 1:36:38 PM
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Jerry, thanks for the info on those two city cars. It stands to reason the Japanese have created the one with the best safety performance, considering their population density, excellence at designing small, and superior application of technology to everyday problems.


Jerry dycus
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
Jerry dycus   4/27/2012 5:19:50 PM
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  Hi Ann and All,

             On the Kei car safety record I think it's mostly the fact they stay on surface streets that are far slower and the drivers know if they screw up, not much between you and what they hit, hit by.  I've seen and sat in them. The first Honda 600 to the US was a version of one for those old enough to remember that skareboard ;^P

            I wouldn't want to get in an accident in them. My point there was it's how, where one drives can make a bigger difference than safety features.  I explaining leaves much to be desired at times.

             The Composite vehicles though though various strategies can take it to the highway and live as well as a compact car at least.

              Another detail is on can put force on something only as much as it weighs. More than that and it just squits away, allowing lighter struture. I do hard passenger shell with crush zone + on each end and massive strength on the sides among other ways.

            Foam, 4 point seatbelts, etc are great ways and I have some that are patentable so can't talk about them for now. 

           In many ways being big hurts like all the 1 SUV accidents which killed more than the weight saved by a large amount.

              Mine was, will be able to brake, drive or accererate from getting into an accident as it's CG is 4" lower than a Corvette's from battery placement. This with good set up allows world class handling second to none.   The accident you can avoid is easiest to survive.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lightweight city vehicle safety class
Rob Spiegel   4/26/2012 2:44:27 PM
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TJ, I would think that creating a safety standard for city-only driving would come with a set of problems. Many of our cities have a blend of interstate and surface streets. Los Angeles is a good example. LA's freeways are fully integrated into city driving. Likewise with Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Phoenix.

Rob Spiegel
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Not much money
Rob Spiegel   4/26/2012 12:14:19 PM
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This doesn't seem like much money for R&D, especially since it is spread out of a number of years. This may simply be the most the White House could put together without congressional approval. The load for the company in Dearborn woud have been massive. But in our current political climate, I can see why it didn't get through.

Larry S.
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Allow market demand to promote new materials!
Larry S.   4/27/2012 11:47:10 AM
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Build a better mousetrap, and the customers will come - i.e. Apple's iPhone & iPad.  Reduced taxes are good for manufacturing development according to NAM.  Government funding for "lightweighting" is a poor use of our tax dollars during this period of high deficits!

Larry S.
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Allow market demand to promote new materials!
Larry S.   4/27/2012 1:58:15 PM
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Build a better mousetrap, and the customers will come - i.e. Apple's iPhone & iPad.  Reduced taxes are good for manufacturing development according to NAM.  Government funding for "lightweighting" is a poor use of our tax dollars during this period of high deficits!

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