Finite Element Analysis of Rear Suspension cradle of EcoCAR2: An investigation into weight reduction techniques.

by Krishna Rajagopalan Nair

Institution: The Ohio State University
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Degree: MS
Year: 2014
Keywords: Mechanical Engineering; Automotive Engineering
Record ID: 2029723
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1398956695


EcoCAR2 is a three-year student engineering competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM). The competition challenges 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. This thesis investigates weight reduction techniques (within constraints of material availability, manufacturability, cost etc) for the modified rear cradle of OSU EcoCAR2 using Finite Element Analysis so as to make the vehicle more lightweight without compromising on safety and performance. Finite element analysis of the stock and modified rear cradles subjected to 15 different extreme load cases (that the cradle would encounter during the use of the vehicle) was performed to determine the maximum stress, displacement and stiffness of the modified cradle in comparison with the stock cradle and the values were used as reference standards for weight reduction investigation. Effects of changing thickness (6.35 mm vs 4.7625, 3.175, 3.0378, 2.6568 mm) as well as material (A36 vs HSLA-F Gr.60) of the reinforcements of modified cradle on its structural behavior were done with the objective of achieving maximum weight reduction.