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Better model gives fewer crash tests

Published: 13 December 2016

Fewer crash tests and a reduced need for material testing. Those are benefits that improved computational models can provide in terms of production of press-hardened steel parts for cars. The results are presented in a new doctoral thesis at Luleå University of Technology.

– Based on my experimental work, I could improve computational models that predict the material deformation and fracture properties after the heat treatment. This type of calculation methods are used in the development of future cars and are mainly used in crash simulations, says Stefan Golling who just completed his PhD in Solid Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology.

Reduced weight provides benefits

Other mechanical engineers now have a computing tool that helps in the development of hot-formed and press-hardened components. The main driving force behind the press hardening or hot forming of high-strength steel in the automotive industry, is about to reduce vehicle weight. It reduces fuel consumption and thus carbon dioxide emissions, while maintaining or even improving safety.

– Heat treatment of plates is an effective method to increase performance of the material by changing the microstructure, thus the material structure at the microscopic level, says Stefan Golling.

Typical applications are for example B-pillars of the car, which is the part of the body that acts as a support between the front and rear doors.

– My results can be used directly in the development of components that are made from the same type of steel alloy I used in my research. My results can also be adapted to new alloys with relatively little material testing. The calculation models I developed can in addition to the auto industry also be used for materials with varying microstructure, says Stefan Golling.

Car companies linked to research

Research in Stefan Golling doctoral thesis is part of a series of projects related to the automotive industry. Several companies are involved; Gestamp Hardtech, Volvo Cars, Scania and Dyna More.

Funding has also been made via Vinnova and implemented within the framework of the Centre for High Performance Steel, CHS, at Luleå University of technology. The results are used in other research projects at CHS and Stefan Golling has collaborated with Rickard Östlund who graduated in April 2015 at CHS and LTU.

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