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Design, Manufacturing and Experimental Testing of a Composite Leaf-Spring Suspension Shackle using “Tailored Fiber Alignment (TFA)”

Martino Taffetani

Design, Manufacturing and Experimental Testing of a Composite Leaf-Spring Suspension Shackle using “Tailored Fiber Alignment (TFA)”.

Rel. Giovanni Belingardi. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Automotive Engineering (Ingegneria Dell'Autoveicolo), 2019

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The adoption of composite materials in the automotive field is undergoing a constant increase year after year. Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites provide high strength to weight ratio and hence result attractive for lightweighting in mass-produced vehicles. However, the mass production of lightweight composite components for the automotive industry is limited by several factors, including the higher cost of the materials and the more complex manufacturing processes which would lead to higher cycle times than those requested by the industry standards. Nevertheless, through the optimization of the efficiency of material usage, and new manufacturing techniques, costs can be reduced and manufacturing processes adapted, so that the advantages coming from the adoption of composite components are preponderant with respect to the higher intrinsic complexity and economical effort. Structural components having complicated geometries create non-linear load paths wherein “cutting of flat-parts or stack-up of laminae” to the desired shape does not work. Furthermore, the cutting of FRPs leads to delamination and additional damage. Tailored Fiber Alignment (TFA), wherein a fiber bundle (tow) is placed along the load path, has shown promise for structural components. This allows to design components with optimized thickness, net-shape and fiber orientation, tailored exactly for the loads which they are undergoing during operational life. In this work, the feasibility of TFA technique to manufacture a composite shackle plate for automotive application is explored. A holistic process that incorporates all the steps from initial design, numerical analysis to determine load-paths, TFA of preform, manufacturing of the part and experimental testing was performed. Initially the material was characterized experimentally, then followed a computational phase of FE analysis, with a focus on weight reduction and fiber orientation optimization. The stress contours and load-paths were transferred to the fiber-alignment machine to create the desire preforms. Next, first vacuum assisted transfer molding (VARTM) and then mold curing techniques were used to infuse the preform with SC-15 epoxy (Two-part toughened epoxy). Finally, a dedicated fixture was manufactured to test the part and validate the previous simulations.

Relators: Giovanni Belingardi
Academic year: 2018/19
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 132
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Automotive Engineering (Ingegneria Dell'Autoveicolo)
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-33 - MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Ente in cotutela: Michigan State University (STATI UNITI D'AMERICA)
Aziende collaboratrici: Michigan State University
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/11303
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