Study on Crush Tube Geometric Cross sections and Topology for Axial Crashworthiness
Crush tubes are used as crash impact energy absorbing structure (EAS) and are located in the frontal compartment of road vehicles. Ideal crashworthiness of an EAS mandates that the equivalent decelerations due to impact forces should to be ≤ 20g; and crush force and stroke efficiencies should tend to unity. It is understood from the literature that no single geometric cross-section shape exhibits a near-ideal crashworthiness; and most EAS members exhibit a high initial peak crush force which is detrimental to the occupant safety, and moderate stroke and crush force efficiencies leading to a compromise in the total energy absorbed. In this paper, finite element analysis (FEA) methodology is formulated and experimentally validated for axial crush of a crush tube of SS304 material with circular cross section. Subsequently, plastic deformation phenomenon and folding patterns in relation to crush force behaviour of crush tubes with various basic cross-sections of polygonal geometric shapes from triangle to octagon and circle are extensively studied through FEA. Further, two new geometric cross-section profiles with combination of basic shapes are proposed to combine the merits of different basic shapes. The crashworthiness of all basic cross-sections including the two proposed cross-section profiles is assessed based on standard parameters. The proposed new geometries may form a basis for the development of new EAS configurations for enhanced crashworthiness.
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