Smart Materials and Sensors: Crashworthiness Design Using Structural Optimization

Better vehicle design can lessen the impact of severe crashes. In these accidents, harm to occupants can be prevented or mitigated by effective vehicle and highway design. Vehicle design includes the vehicle structure as well as safety measures like airbags and seatbelts. Highway design, including roadside hardware, also has an important impact on the severity of crashes.

Crashworthiness design refers to the process of improving these safety-related structures. Recent advances in computer technology allow the designs to be tested with computer simulation as opposed to expensive crash tests. The new crash simulation tools form the basis for an iterative process for safer vehicle and highway design. First, a model of vehicle and highway structures is used for crash simulation. The iterative process consists of vehicle and highway structure redesign, followed by additional crash simulations.

In spite of recent developments of crash simulation tools, this iterative process involves extremely high computational costs that limit its effectiveness. The crash analysis and simulation process is computationally intensive. Furthermore, determining which of the many number of parameters to adjust during the redesign process is an intractable problem. The research at CISR focuses on solving this problem by integrating computer simulation codes with numerical optimization methods.