Design Optimization Of Aluminum Hinge Parts For Lightweight Vehicles: Performance, Durability And Manufacturability
Today, global energy demand and the importance of sustainable environment are growing rapidly. Thus, producing fuel-saving and energy-efficient vehicles in the automotive industry has become a priority target. While becoming conscious of consume fuel, reducing the weight of the vehicle for fuel saving have been studied and shown to be necessary. Much effort is currently being aimed at reducing the weight of vehicles in order to improve fuel efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The automotive industries visualize that a multi-material vehicle parts are one of critical factors to succeed this aim. It can be achieved by replacing materials with high strength steel and aluminum alloys in the vehicle. It must be done without compromising the performance or the safety of the vehicle by using an appropriate material at the right position.
The future opportunities for new lightweight vehicle parts have been investigated by using topology optimization methods. And also finite element analyses (FEA) is an important tool for achieving it since it decreases prototyping costs and time. Vehicles have different door systems and one of the important parts of them is hinge. Door hinges are a key product in the automotive industry. The function of automotive door hinge is not only to close, open, and keep the open angle of the door but also to reduce traumas for passengers in the car when a vital accident occurs. An automotive door hinge is mainly composed of four elements, mobile part, fixed part, hinge body and link. In this study, an approach for FEA and re-design process for automotive door hinge link is presented. Hinge link is made of mild steel, currently. Structural analyses are applied on hinge link by using Hyperworks. The boundary conditions, which are used in the analysis, are determined according to the data from test bench. After evaluation of the FEA results, this part was manufactured by aluminum alloy with the same design for lightweighting. The new prototype hinge link was performed fatigue test and failed. Besides, FEA results showed that higher stress occurred on it. Therefore, the hinge link was completely re-designed by using topology optimization methods. Topology optimization was performed in solidThinking Inspire. By applying topology optimization three different models were created. The most strength design was selected accordingly the FEA results. To verify the analyses results prototype hinge link was conducted fatigue tests. The results indicated that, the new design of the hinge link which made of aluminum provided the desired safety condition and nearly 60% weight reduction was achieved.