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VEHICLE STIFFNESS ANALYSIS

with a focus on Sports Car Structures and a detailed study of the Westfield Sports Car Spaceframe Chassis

Wayne Prangnell

November 1992

SUMMARY

The purpose of a vehicle chassis, the different type of vehicle structures and the analysis of vehicle structures is discussed by way of introduction to a detailed investigation of a Westfield Sports Car space frame chassis.

The bending and torsional stiffness of a spaceframe chassis was tested in the laboratory and was modelled using finite element analysis software. Laboratory testing was carried out to establish the validity of the finite element model. The model was then used to investigate methods of improving the torsional stiffness of the chassis without altering the layout of the car. A number of recommendations were made to improve the torsional stiffness of the chassis with some simple modifications.

Page 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

List of Figures

 

4

List of Tables

6

1 Introduction

8

1.1

Outline of Project

8

2 Background

9

2.1 Introduction

9

2.2 Purpose of the Chassis

9

2.3 Basics of Vehicle Structural Actions

10

2.4 Requirements of a Chassis

15

 

2.4.1 Strength Requirements

15

2.4.2 Chassis Stiffness Requirements

17

2.4.3 Determining Torsional Stiffness

19

2.5 Relationship of Suspension and Chassis Stiffness

20

2.6 Vehicle Structure Analysis

20

2.7 Development of the Structure of Sports and Racing Cars

22

2.8 Background of Clubman Cars

28

3 Analysis of the Westfield Sports Car

30

3.1

Introduction

30

3.2

Determination of Chassis Geometry

31

3.2

Chassis Bending Stiffness

32

3.2.1 Laboratory Test Description and Procedure

32

3.1.2 Theoretical Analysis Description

34

3.3

Chassis Torsional Stiffness

36

3.3.1 Laboratory Test Description and Procedure

36

3.3.2 Theoretical Analysis Description

38

4 Results and Discussion

39

4.1 Bending Test and Bending Analysis

39

4.2 Torsional Test and Torsional Analysis

41

4.3 Torsional Stiffness - Chassis Variations

45

5 Conclusions

54

5.1 Recommendations

57

5.2 Further Study

58

6 Acknowledgments

59

7 References

60

8 Appendices

61

Appendix A - Westfield Sports Car Data

61

Appendix B - Westfield Sports Car Chassis Drawing

63

Appendix C - Computer Model Data File

64

Page 2

Appendix D - Laboratory Testing Observations

76

Appendix E - Diagrams and Information for Chassis Modifications

77

Appendix F - Components of the Westfield Sports Cars

91

Appendix G - Calculations

92

Page 3

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations

10

Figure 2.2 - Exploded View of Girder Chassis

12

Figure 2.3 - Twin Tube Chassis of Triumph TR4 with Cross Bracing

12

Figure 2.4 - Spaceframe Chassis

13

Figure 2.5 - Multitubular Chassis

13

Figure 2.6 - Torsion Box Stressed Skin Construction, Ford GT40

14

Figure 2.7 - Monocoque Stressed Skin Construction

14

Figure 2.8 - Composite Structure of Mass Produced Renault 16

15

Figure 2.9 - 1966 McLaren Grand Prix Car

20

Figure 2.10 - Lola T92/10 Rollbox Model

24

Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and Independent Suspension

26

Figure 2.12 - Independent Suspension Attached to Vehicle Structure

27

Figure 2.13 - Lotus Mark Six

27

Figure 2.14 - Mercédès-Benz 300SL

28

Figure 2.15 - Mercédès-Benz W196

28

Figure 2.16 - Structure of the Lotus 25 Grand Prix Car

29

Figure 2.17 - 1989 Ferrari Grand Prix Car (bodywork cut away)

29

Figure 2.18 - 1988 McLaren MP4/4 GP Car, Bodywork Removed

30

Figure 2.19 - Modern Cars with Space Frames

31

Figure 2.20 - Monocoque Chassis Road Cars

32

Figure 2.21 - Westfield Sports Car

33

Figure 2.22 - Ginnetta G2

33

Figure 2.23 - Lotus Seven Body

34

Figure 2.24 - Elfin Clubman Car

35

38

Figure 3.1 - Layout of Chassis Survey Figure 3.2 - Axes System

39

Figure 3.3 - Chassis Bending Test

39

Figure 3.4 - PAFEC 34000 Beam Element

41

Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups

42

Figure 3.6 - Chassis Bending Model

43

Figure 3.7 - Chassis Torsional Test

44

Figure 3.8 - Pattern of Loading for Torsional Test

45

Figure 3.9 - Chassis Torsional Test Model

46

47

Figure 4.1 - Load Deflection Response of Chassis Bending Figure 4.2 - Shape of Chassis for Calculated Bending Test

49

Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response

51

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Figure 4.4 - Scatter of Measured Torsional Stiffness

52

Figure 4.5 - Torsional Deflections Along Chassis

53

Figure 4.6 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Changes to Member Sizes

55

Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Engine Bay Changes

56

Figure 4.8 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Chassis with Extra Bracing

58

Figure 4.9 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Centre Tunnel Changes

59

Figure 4.10 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Changes Using Plates

60

Figure 4.11 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Other Changes

61

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1 - Measured Peak Accelerations of Vehicles

18

Table 2.2 - Chassis Torsional Stiffness

22

54

Table 4.1 - Standard Chassis Models Table 4.2 - Category I, Changes to Member Sizes

55

Table 4.3 - Category II, Changes to the Engine Bay

56

Table 4.4 - Category III, Addition of Bracing Chassis Nose

58

Table 4.5 - Category IV, Changes to the Centre Tunnel

59

Table 4.6 - Category V, Use of Plates

60

Table 4.7 - Category VI, Other Changes

61

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"You have to have passion to go deep inside, where you can then experience special feelings, very special moments which trigger some of the unique sensations, unique touch and feelings that give you something extra when you are right on the limit."

Ayrton Senna, December 1991

The analysis of a vehicle structure takes the designer deep inside, looking for something extra to give the driver when he is right on the limit.

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1 INTRODUCTION

The motor car is an important part of our lives that most of us use every day. Usually considered as a mechanical product because of all the mechanisms attached to it, the car is also an important structure. The motor car is subject to such a variation of loads and a severe fatigue life. For efficiency and performance reasons the car must weigh as little as possible, thus the design and analysis of this structure is essential. The analysis of vehicle structures is also very important because the public who use cars will tolerate the occasional mechanical breakdown, but they expect never to have any problems with the structure of the vehicle regardless of the severity of conditions the vehicle has been subject through its life.

The analysis of vehicle structures is an area where Civil Engineers, or more specifically Structural Engineers are well equipped to tackle.

The analysis of vehicle structures was researched and a fairly broad overview provided. A detailed stiffness analysis of the Westfield Sports Car chassis was then carried out using a finite element computer model and validated with laboratory testing. Potential modifications to the chassis and their effect of vehicle stiffness using the computer model.

1.1 Outline of Project

Many ideas were pursued with this project and the aims often shifted with new information that was learned and new ideas, but the basic goal of this project has remained the same: To learn about the structure of vehicles. The subject of this project was narrowed by the authors interest in motor sport and sports cars which led to acquaintances with one of two vehicle manufacturers in Western Australia, Westfield Sports Cars Australia. Stephen Fox from Westfield Sports Cars showed enthusiasm at learning more about the structure of the sports car that his company produces and he agreed to lend a completed chassis for testing.

Early plans for the project were ambitious and some of the activities planned were: Track testing of the Westfield Sports car to determine the loads on a vehicle, analysis of the chassis for stiffness, analysis of the vehicle for stresses and laboratory testing of chassis stiffness and stresses.

Unfortunately track testing was not viable due to the cost of the equipment that would be required such as strain gauges and high speed multi channel data loggers. With improvements in data logger technology and availability, measuring the loads on a vehicle may make an interesting project in the future.

On a simpler level, it was attempted to measure vehicle loads with brake meters. Brake meters work on a principal of lateral accelerations causing an angular deflection of a pendulum in a damping fluid. These devices which were used by British authorities for testing the brakes of commercial vehicles were found to be inaccurate for measuring car accelerations as the pitch and roll of a car about its horizontal axes and the slope of a road visibly affected the angle of the pendulum.

The laboratory program was limited to stiffness testing because strain gauges for measuring stresses were not able to be supplied and fitted at the University for financial reasons. In hindsight it was sensible to carry out laboratory testing for stiffness only for reasons of simplicity and the limited time available to the project.

Page 8

To establish computer models for stress and stiffness analysis of the chassis, various data was collected. The geometry of the chassis was measured using optical surveying techniques in the first instance and then using a tape measure. Around thirty of the major components of the Westfield Sports car were weighed, measured and drawn for use with a lumped mass finite element stress model. However the stress analysis did not proceed because laboratory stress measurements would not have been available to confirm any model results and the time available would not have allowed the use of a detailed stress model. A model for stiffness analysis was created and analysed for bending and torsion load cases. A number of variations to the standard Westfield Sports Car were also investigated.

All models were created for and analysed using the PAFEC finite element software, running on an Apollo workstation at Curtin University of Technology.

Some of the results of testing and analysis have been interesting, others were what was expected, but the overall result was learning a lot about vehicle structures and learning of the potential of computer analysis as a tool for the development of motor vehicle structures.

The author has found this subject very interesting and hopes that this report conveys its information in a way that will pass on this interest to the reader.

2.1 Introduction

2 BACKGROUND

Information is presented here as background on vehicle structures. The purpose of a vehicle chassis, its effect on the performance of a vehicle, the different types of vehicle structures and how analysis of the vehicle structure is approached is explained. The importance of stiffness of a vehicle structure is also discussed in this section.

The chassis of a vehicle is frequently referred to throughout this project.

structural parts of the vehicle. fibreglass cladding.

The intended meaning is the main

This does not include suspension components or non structural bodywork, eg

A background on the structural developments of racing and sports cars is given as racing and sports cars are

usually at the forefront of chassis development. Background on Clubman cars has been included to help understanding of the analysis of the Westfield Sports Car chassis which is a Clubman car. Clubman is the name given to a particular style car and this is explained in the background on Clubman cars.

2.2

Purpose of the Chassis

A car chassis may be thought of as a large bracket. This bracket must keep all the parts of the car rigidly in

place for the normal loads to which a car is subjected. Additionally this bracket must protect the driver in

situations of abnormal loading such as crash loading. A summary of considerations for chassis design is given

in Figure 2.1.

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Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity
Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity

Figure 2.1 - Chassis Design Considerations

Strength is required for safety and long life. Rigidity or stiffness is required for servicability reasons to eliminate low frequency shaking, fatigue problems, door closure problems on uneven ground. For performance reasons adequate chassis stiffness ensures that the full road holding and handling potential of the suspension system and tyres is reached.

2.3 Basics of Vehicle Structural Actions

The vehicle structure is required to be strong and stiff in bending between the front and rear wheels and strong and stiff in torsion between the front and rear wheels. In addition the vehicle structure must have sufficient strength and stiffness in local areas where loads are applied by components mounted to the structure. These include loads from the pedals, steering wheel, seats, engine, fuel tank, differential, aerodynamic devices etc.

In dealing with vehicle loads there are a number of structural systems employed by the different types of chassis. Looking at the predominant structural action, the four main types of structural actions for vehicle structures are discussed in the following order: i) Beam structures, ii) Framed structures, iii) Stressed skin construction and iv) Compound structures.

i) Beam structures

Bending and torsional, are carried by relatively thick walled beams. There are usually two beams longitudinally along the base of the car. Essentially there have been two types of beam structures used for vehicles. Historically the first type was the conventional girder chassis which consisted of two longitudinal steel girders of channel section spaced by transverse members of similar construction. A girder chassis is shown in Figure 2.2.

Vehicles which commonly employ this structural system are trucks. It is unusual to find this structural system in a new car today.

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Figure 2.2 - Exploded View of Girder Chassis The second type of beam structure is

Figure 2.2 - Exploded View of Girder Chassis The second type of beam structure is the twin tube or ladder chassis. This chassis has two large section hollow members joined by lateral or diagonal bracing or a combination of both which increases the torsional stiffness of the structure. The torsional stiffness of a twin tube chassis is far superior to a girder chassis of similar weight. A twin tube chassis with diagonal bracing is shown in Figure 2.3.

tube chassis with diagonal bracing is shown in Figure 2.3. Figure 2.3 - Twin Tube Chassis

Figure 2.3 - Twin Tube Chassis of Triumph TR4 with Cross Bracing

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ii)

Framed Structures

Loads are carried by either a partially or nearly fully braced frame system. Because of the complexity of loading and the number of components which must be accommodated within a car, a fully braced frame would be impractical and almost impossible. A vehicle with a frame as its main structure is called a spaceframe when the frame is well triangulated. It is called a multitubular chassis when the frame is only poorly braced and the loads are carried partly by the bending of the members and joints and partly by tension and compression in the members. A spaceframe chassis is shown in Figure 2.4 and a multitubular chassis in Figure 2.5.

in Figure 2.4 and a multitubular chassis in Figure 2.5. Figure 2.4 - Spaceframe Chassis Figure
in Figure 2.4 and a multitubular chassis in Figure 2.5. Figure 2.4 - Spaceframe Chassis Figure

Figure 2.4 - Spaceframe Chassis

2.4 and a multitubular chassis in Figure 2.5. Figure 2.4 - Spaceframe Chassis Figure 2.5 -

Figure 2.5 - Multitubular Chassis

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iii)

Stressed skin construction

With stressed skin construction loads are carried by a series of thin walled panels. The panels are usually stabilised with stiffeners and reinforced locally in regions of high stress such as near suspension mountings. The panels are most commonly sheet steel or aluminium, moulded glass fibre composites, carbon fibre composites.

Stressed skin construction can be categorised into two main forms. Firstly those chassis consisting of two closed boxed sections down either side of the car, essentially a very large diameter, twin tube chassis. Figure 2.6 illustrates this type of construction.

chassis. Figure 2.6 illustrates this type of construction. Figure 2.6 - Torsion Box Stressed Skin Construction,
chassis. Figure 2.6 illustrates this type of construction. Figure 2.6 - Torsion Box Stressed Skin Construction,

Figure 2.6 - Torsion Box Stressed Skin Construction, Ford GT40

Secondly chassis which are like a closed top bath tub; a nearly closed single shell with apertures for driver and engine. This is illustrated in Figure 2.7 by the Lotus 25 structure.

This is illustrated in Figure 2.7 by the Lotus 25 structure. Figure 2.7 - Monocoque Stressed

Figure 2.7 - Monocoque Stressed Skin Construction

These forms of chassis have both been called monocoque, unitary, bath tub, torsion box and stressed skin bodies. Torsion box probably best describes the former, while the latter fits the definition of a monocoque. Monocoque comes from French: mono- + coque, shell, from Latin.

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iv)

Compound structures

Many vehicles employ a combination of these principal structural actions. Almost all modern production cars are a composite structure of frame members such as the roof and door pillars and stressed skins such as the roof, floor and other panels in the engine bay and boot. Figure 2.8 illustrates with an exploded view of a Renault production car. Commercial vehicles such as buses and coaches often use a basic frame, very flexible on its own which is stiffened by the addition of exterior body panels. The structures of many light buses and four wheel drive wagons are similar in principal to this. Tray backed vehicles usually have two longitudinal beams along their length and a stressed skin cabin, often with a frame inside the skin. Some of the more limited volume production sports cars are composite structures with a braced frame, further stiffened and strengthened with stressed panels.

further stiffened and strengthened with stressed panels. Figure 2.8 - Composite Structure of Mass Produced Renault

Figure 2.8 - Composite Structure of Mass Produced Renault 16

The loads in a beam structure are carried by flexure of the main beams, in a braced frame system loads are carried primarily by tension and compression in the members as in a truss. A partially braced frame carries load by bending moment and tension and compression in the members and with stressed skin construction, loads are carried by in plane stresses in the skin.

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2.4 Requirements of a Chassis 2.4.1 Strength Requirements

The strength requirements of any vehicle structure depend upon :

i) The magnitude of the loads to which it is subject

ii) Whether the loads are dynamic or static.

iii) The method of transmission of the loads into the structure.

iv) The variability of the loading.

v) The factor of safety which is required against failure.

Vehicle structure loadings are generally specified in terms of peak accelerations to which the vehicle is subject.

This is independent of the weight of the vehicle thus allowing uniform comparison between loads on cars of

different weight.

The magnitude of peak accelerations to which a vehicle is subject and the use of these accelerations to

determine the loads on a vehicle structure is described by Garrett (1953). He suggests that the worst

combinations of loading which could affect a vehicle structure are represented by four design cases. These

four load cases do not include any consideration for crash loading, a separate area of vehicle design which is

not considered in this report.

The four load cases are based on peak accelerations of 1g for forward acceleration or braking, 1g for lateral

acceleration due to cornering and 3g for vertical acceleration. These accelerations should be multiplied by 1.5

as a safety factor in arriving at maximum loads for design. A safety factor of 1.5 which is relatively high for

steel structures is used due to uncertainty as to the actual magnitude of the loads.

The four loading cases which should be considered are:

i) Hitting a bump / kerbing while braking in a straight line.

ii) Cornering.

iii) Hitting a bump while accelerating straight ahead.

iv) Hitting a bump while cornering.

Costin and Phipps (1965) used a similar approach in an example of the design of a racing sports car chassis.

The peak accelerations and the safety factor used in arriving at loads they used were identical to those

suggested by Garrett.

Other methods of analysing loads include determining serviceability loads from spring and damper actions and

and analysis of the tyre / road interface. Vertical loading for normal operation would be through determining

the relationship between compression of the spring damper unit and loading which is a combination of simple

elastic deformation of the spring plus dynamic force from the damper unit, whereas strength or ultimate load

cases are invariably outside of the normal spring and suspension movement range and may be more

dependent on other factors including tyre, bump stop and bushing deformation. Page 15

Analysing the tyre contact

patch and tyre deflection may provide an envelope of the longitudnal, lateral and vertical forces potentially

transmitted from the road into the vehicle.

With steady improvements in suspension design, tyre properties, aerodynamics and downforce, vehicle weight,

torsional stiffness and engine outputs, the peak accelerations that a modern production car, sports car or racing

car can generate has increased. Examples of the peak accelerations that can be generated by several different

cars are given in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 - Measured Peak Accelerations of Vehicles

 

Peak Accele rations, g

 

Longitudinal

Lateral .

Wheels, October 1992 - Road and race Nissan GTR's

   

Standard Nissan GTR

.87

1.17

Australian Group A Nissan GTR

1.22

1.46

Wheels, May 1992

   

Ferrari 1992 Formula 1 Car

3.4

4.31

Ferrari F40

1.17

1.29

Ferrari 348

1.14

1.0

Wheels, October 1991 - Australian Group A Racing Cars

   

Holden Commodore

1.0

1.4

 

Nissan GTR

1.0

1.7

Motor, July 1991 - Tyre Testing Feature

   

Nissan 300zx, Dunlop D40 M2 225/50 ZR16 Tyres

   

Dry, low friction, smooth concrete track

1.09

1.01

Wheels, May 1991 - Handling Test

   

Tested with Valentine Research Inc. G-analyst

   

BMW M5

N/A

1.05

Ferrari Mondial t348

N/A

1.03

 

Honda NSX

N/A

1.07

 

Nissan GTR

N/A

1.10

Porsche Carrera 4

N/A

1.06

L J K Setright1968

   

1953

Grand Prix Car

N/A

0.7

1965

Grand Prix Car

N/A

1.4

Note that comparisons between these results will not be accurate as facto rs such as coeffi cient of fricti on

of road, temperature, test circuit and driver are variables.

 

Page 16

Modern cars, in particular sports and racing cars commonly achieve higher peak accelerations than those given in references by Garrett (1953) and Costin and Phipps (1965). Consequently the loads on a modern car will be larger, however may be slightly offset by reduction of the safety factor due to:

i) More accurate determination of loads using modern measuring equipment

ii) Better understanding of the vehicle structure through computer structural analysis techniques

iii) Better quality control of materials and manufacturing processes used in vehicle construction

This project is concerned with chassis stiffness rather than strength. This discussion about vehicle loads is intended to provide background for vehicle strength. Strength analysis of vehicle structures requires further more detailed information of the loads that apply to a particular vehicle and a range of different load cases apply ranging from serviceability where fatigue stress is a primary consideration to impact loads where controlled failure and permanent plastic deformation occurs.

Further discussion focuses on chassis stiffness which can be analysed independently of loads and stresses, thus detailed load cases are not further developed.

2.4.2 Chassis Stiffness Requirements

Chassis stiffness is important in any vehicle for reasons such as door aperture tolerance, durability of fitments, occupant comfort and impression of safety, but most importantly for a performance car, chassis stiffness is fundamental to cornering performance.

Bending stiffness of a chassis is typically expressed as a maximum vertical deflection of a chassis resulting from a certain mid span load. Fenton (1980) suggests that the maximum deflection for a 680 kg mid span load should be 1.27 mm. Fenton has not discussed the type or weight range of the vehicles that this would be applicable to and this would be necessary where deflection is the design criteria. For instance if two cars meet the requirement of a maximum mid span deflection of 1.27 mm for a 680 kg load, yet one of these cars is very heavy and the other is much lighter, the in service deflections of the heavier car will be larger approximately in proportion to the difference in weight.

Chassis torsional stiffness is expressed in vehicle publications and by automotive engineers as the amount of torque required to twist the chassis one degree over the length of its wheelbase. Metric units are Nm/degree and imperial units are ft.lb/degree. This expression of chassis stiffness is independent of the wheelbase of the car, allowing direct comparison between cars of different length.

Page 17

To obtain good road holding and handling, the suspension geometry of a car is carefully designed and often refined to sub millimetre accuracy. For the suspension system to be most effective, the mounting points for the suspension on the chassis must be held rigidly in place by a stiff chassis. For this reason torsional stiffness is most important. Torsional stiffness is almost always more important than bending stiffness for performance reasons because in bending there is very little deflection at the supports, which in the case of a vehicle are the suspension mountings. However with torsional deformation the maximum deflections are likely to occur at the suspension mounting points.

A good illustration of the effect of chassis torsional stiffness is documented by Setright (1968). The 1966 McLaren Grand Prix car was uncompetitive with the leading teams of that season because the engine was large, heavy and underpowered. However the chassis which was designed by young Aerospace Engineer, Robin Herd, which had an aluminium skin over a balsa wood core was of exceptional torsional stiffness. The McLaren had a torsional stiffness of about 13500 Nm/deg compared to about 3300 Nm/deg for a competitive Lotus 33. Setright timed the McLaren of Bruce McLaren shown in Figure 2.9 through Hunzberg Corner at the Zandervoort Grand Prix circuit faster than that achieved by Jim Clark in his Lotus although Clark's lap times were significantly faster than McLaren's.

lap times were significantly faster than McLaren's. Figure 2.9 - 1966 McLaren Grand Prix Car Another

Figure 2.9 - 1966 McLaren Grand Prix Car

Another illustration of the importance of chassis torsional stiffness was the Porsche 904 Bergspyder developed for the 1965 European Hillclimb Championship. Its structure was very poor for torsional loads and as a result the handling was erratic and the car was called 'Kangaroo'. Heavy modifications were needed to make the car competitive (Cotton 1988).

Page 18

2.4.3

Determining Torsional Stiffness

There are two common strategies for measuring the torsional stiffness of a chassis which are:

i) Fit solid bars in place of spring and shock absorber units and mount either the front or rear suspension

uprights to a rigid datum. Measure the torque required to twist the unrestrained end of the car one

degree, or a similar measured amount. Thus the chassis stiffness is deduced from the rotation of the

unrestrained suspension uprights for the particular torque applied.

ii) Reasonably restrain one end of the chassis from rotation about the centreline at its suspension mounting

points at that end. Apply a known torque to the unrestrained end of the chassis through the chassis

mounting points, measuring the rotations on the chassis at the front and the rear. The chassis stiffness

may be deduced from the relative rotation of the unrestrained end of the chassis to the restrained end for

the torque applied.

The measured torsional stiffness of the chassis may vary if the torsional stiffness is calculated from rotations at

the ends of suspension members as in i) or if the stiffness is calculated from rotations measured at the front and

rear of the actual chassis as in ii).

Table 2.2 summarises literature review of recommendations and observations for chassis torsional stiffness.

Table 2.2 - Chassis Torsional Stiffness

Source

Vehicle

 

Recommendation or Observation

Setright 1968

1962

Lotus 25/33 GP car

3300

Nm/deg

 

(basic structure weighed 32kg complete)

 

Setright 1968

1966

Brabham GP car

about 1400 Nm/deg

 

multitubular chassis

   

Setright 1968

1966

McLaren GP car

over 13 500 Nm/deg

 

chassis of thin aluminium alloy, chemically bonded to end grain balsa core.

 

Fenton 1980

typical family saloon,

Minimum:

6100

Nm/deg

   

Recommended:

6500

- 7500 Nm/deg

Webb 1984

family size saloon

 

most cars range 4000 -

 

9000

Nm/deg

Gard 1992

Ford Falcon EBII 1992

 

8200

Nm/deg

Campbell 1978

Lotus Elan (about 1963) backbone chassis only

6870

Nm/deg

Fenton 1980

Ford GT40

 

13560 Nm/deg

Page 19

Fothergill 1984

Open sports car

4000

Nm/deg is design

aim

 

light road racing car

4070

Nm/deg suitable

Gard 1992

any performance car

ideally 10 times the suspension roll stiffness

Gard 1992

early 1990's F1

estimated 35 000 to

45

000

Nm/deg

 

Qld Govt.

Low volume cars:

4 cyl

4000

Nm/deg

 

(Road registration)

6 cyl

6000

Nm/deg

   

8 cyl

8000

Nm/deg

Gard 1992

English kit Cobra

300

Nm/deg

 
 

RMC racing Cobra

8300

Nm/deg

Jaguar 2013

2014 F Type aluminium body Jaguar

 

2.5

Relationship of Suspension and Chassis Stiffness

An improvement in roadholding and cornering performance may be possible by increasing the stiffness of the

suspension, but often increasing the spring stiffness gives no improvement or even worse overall performance.

The reason for this may be that the torsional stiffness of the chassis has not been considered. For instance

where springs are already quite stiff, or the chassis is quite flexible much of the suspension movement may be

as a result of flexure of the chassis and in such a case stiffer springs are unlikely to increase cornering capacity.

The other problem of fitting stiffer springs, also associated with the torsional stiffness of the car is that stiffer

springs transfer bigger loads into the chassis resulting in larger chassis deflections. When these deflections

become large enough to affect a carefully designed suspension geometry, cornering performance will be lost.

In order to achieve the full potential of the suspension system and the tyres, the torsional stiffness of the

chassis should be ten times the roll stiffness of the suspension. The roll stiffness of the suspension is the

torsional stiffness of the car minus the flexibility of the chassis, measured at the wheel positions with springs

in place and the suspension movement unrestricted.

2.6

Vehicle Structure Analysis

Traditional engineering statics and mechanics formula can be applied relatively easily to early beam and

tubular chassis however manual methods become more difficult with complex three dimensional geometry of

Page 20

space frames, stressed skin and composite construction. Model or prototype testing provided an early solution but testing numerous iterations of loads and design options is time consuming and expensive.

With modern vehicle design and construction, the structural actions of vehicle structures have become quite complex. Sports and racing car structures are usually either thin walled (shell) structures or of spaceframe construction. With many members, joints, load paths and a high degree of indeterminacy, manual analysis becomes difficult, often impractical and more susceptible to errors. This is further aggravated by the variability of loading imposed on a vehicle. Thus analysis of these structures has tended toward approximate analysis techniques, design by rules of thumb, prototype or model analysis (not usually thought of as an

analysis technique). More detailed calculations for localised areas which are important parts of the structure are usually made. Approximate methods of analysis for thin wall vehicle structures, based on predicting onset

of shear instability are described by Bruhn (1958).

With developments in computer hardware in the 80's and 90's, computers with adequate power for structural analysis have become more affordable and most major car companies are now using computer finite element techniques to improve and refine their structural designs. Finite element analysis is also becoming a powerful design tool for a number of specialist vehicle constructors. For instance Lola Cars who are leading English constructors of sports and racing car chassis have used finite element analysis in the design of the composite structure for the rollbox for crash loads of the T92/10 sports car (Baxter-Smallwood J. , Advanced Composite Engineering, 1992). Figure 2.10 is a diagram of the model used for the analysis of the Lola rollbox. Stress contours are superimposed on the model.

Lola rollbox. Stress contours are superimposed on the model. Figure 2.10 - Lola T92/10 Rollbox Model

Figure 2.10 - Lola T92/10 Rollbox Model

The finite element method has become one of the most important tools for vehicle structural analysis. It deals with structural analysis problems by breaking down a structure which consists of a few complex elements into many simple elements. Mathematical solution of the systems of simple elements by recognised stiffness matrix techniques is readily performed using commercial software and a workstation or powerful personal computer. Current developments in personal computers is leading software companies to produce affordable finite element software for the PC, effectively bringing this tool within the reach of most engineers.

A finite element software package generally consists of modules which:

i) Assist with creating a model of the structure to be analysed. graphics essential for checking input.

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Interactive graphics is preferable, and

ii)

Perform the solution

iii) Communicate the results of the analysis. Interactive graphics could be considered essential for this purpose.

Factors which make the analysis of vehicle structures complex have been discussed, but a factor which can greatly simplify the structural design and analysis of many vehicles is that the design of a vehicle structure is usually controlled by deflections rather than stresses. That is, if the car is designed to achieve a suitable stiffness, the stresses will be below safe limits. This simplifies design because interpreting the results of a stiffness analysis is generally much simpler and less time consuming than with the analysis of stresses. Hence most analysis work during the design stage is for stiffness and a stress analysis is carried to check the final structural details.

2.7 Development of the Structure of Sports and Racing Cars

The historical course of the development of the car chassis has been led in the past by racing and sports car designers who have either failed or achieved glory in applying new technology and new ways of thinking to their car designs. In the past it was thought that the car engine embodied the main technology in the car, but in this era of motor car development and with the benefit of hindsight, the importance of the role that the vehicle chassis has played in successful cars can be seen. The following brief history pays particular attention to developments in Grand Prix racing, as this is seen as the show case for automotive technology.

The earliest cars were built on a steel girder frame which supported a timber body. It didn't matter whether the car was a Grand Prix racing car or a family saloon, the structural action of chassis was the same. This technology had come straight from the coach building industry and it was generally believed that a degree of flexing of the chassis was a necessary part of the suspension. If built along substantial lines, the girder chassis possessed adequate bending stiffness, but its torsional stiffness was very poor. The conventional girder chassis consisted of two longitudinal steel girders of channel section spaced by transverse members of similar construction. This was used almost exclusively in sports and racing cars up until the 1930's.

Even racing cars are subject to Newton's laws of motion, and so it is that a heavy racing car requires more power to accelerate and brake and has a greater desire to continue in a straight line when the driver is trying to turn a corner. In pursuit of better performance from their racing cars, designers recognised the need to reduce weight. As these early chassis were particularly heavy for their strength and stiffness, the chassis was an ideal place to reduce weight.

The move to tubular ladder chassis was led by racing car designers when in 1934 the German Auto Union team introduced a Grand Prix racing car with a twin tube chassis, Mercédès-Benz also introducing a chassis of similar layout that year. This considerably increased the torsional stiffness of the chassis with minimal change in the bending stiffness.

The types of suspension in use at the time, namely live axles and later swing axles, were not dependent on a stiff chassis to preserve the suspension geometry. These suspension types have the wheels connected to axles

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and the wheel and axle assembly moves a single unit. Torsional deformation of the car structure has little effect on the wheel angles whereas the mechanism of wishbone independent suspensions rely on the relative positions of suspension member pivots to determine the angular positions of the wheels. Figure 2.11 shows typical independent wishbone, swing axle and live axle suspension systems.

wishbone, swing axle and live axle suspension systems. Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and
wishbone, swing axle and live axle suspension systems. Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and
wishbone, swing axle and live axle suspension systems. Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and
wishbone, swing axle and live axle suspension systems. Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and
wishbone, swing axle and live axle suspension systems. Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and

Figure 2.11 - Live Axle, Swing Axle and Independent Suspension

Around 1934 came the application of independent suspension to racing cars. Whereas before this the angular relationship of the wheels was determined by a live axle acting as a beam joining the wheels, now the car itself was part of the structure required to preserve the angular relationship of the wheels. Figure 2.12 is a simplified diagram of the connection of independent suspension to the vehicle structure.

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Figure 2.12 - Independent Suspension Attached to Vehicle Structure The need for increased torsional stiffness

Figure 2.12 - Independent Suspension Attached to Vehicle Structure

The need for increased torsional stiffness was recognised by designers and attempts were made to improve the basic ladder chassis with extra tubular super structure, however this was generally not effective. It was not until 1952 that two new sports cars that were to be very successful, designed on space frame principals appeared; the Lotus Mark Six, see Figure 2.13 and the Mercédès-Benz 300SL, see Figure 2.14.

Figure 2.13 and the Mercédès-Benz 300SL, see Figure 2.14. Figure 2.13 - Lotus Mark Six Figure

Figure 2.13 - Lotus Mark Six

300SL, see Figure 2.14. Figure 2.13 - Lotus Mark Six Figure 2.14 - Mercédès-Benz 300SL Spaceframe

Figure 2.14 - Mercédès-Benz 300SL

Spaceframe chassis construction was introduced to Grand Prix racing in 1954 by the Mercédès-Benz W196 which had a significant weight and stiffness advantage over rivals whose car structure were based on the ladder chassis.

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Figure 2.15 - Mercédès-Benz W196 The spaceframe chassis and multitubular chassis were used exclusively in

Figure 2.15 - Mercédès-Benz W196

The spaceframe chassis and multitubular chassis were used exclusively in Grand Prix racing until in 1962.

Fuelled by the desire to win races, the search for further chassis stiffness and light weight brought about the introduction of the stressed skin construction Lotus 25 Grand Prix car. The Lotus 25, later becoming the Lotus 33 with its stressed skin structure achieved a torsional stiffness of around 2 to 2 ½ times that of the a conventional Grand Prix. It also achieved a typical weight saving of around 10 kg. The benefits of weight saving, excellent torsional stiffness and improved driver safety offered by this form of construction were soon recognised and followed by the majority of Grand Prix teams. The basic structure of the Lotus 25 Grand Prix car is shown in Figure 2.16.

of the Lotus 25 Grand Prix car is shown in Figure 2.16. Figure 2.16 - Structure

Figure 2.16 - Structure of the Lotus 25 Grand Prix Car

The excellent stiffness and strength to weight ratio achievable with stressed skin construction currently sees all Grand Prix teams building their racing cars this way. It has also proven ideal for construction with new materials that have since become available such as aluminium honeycomb and currently carbon fibre. Figures

2.17 and 2.18 show modern Grand Prix car chassis.

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Figure 2.17 - 1989 Ferrari Grand Prix Car (bodywork cut away on top) Figure 2.18

Figure 2.17 - 1989 Ferrari Grand Prix Car (bodywork cut away on top)

- 1989 Ferrari Grand Prix Car (bodywork cut away on top) Figure 2.18 - 1988 McLaren

Figure 2.18 - 1988 McLaren MP4/4 Grand Prix Car, Bodywork Removed

In Australia today, ladder chassis for cars are common only in go-karts, vintage cars and some drag racing cars. Space frame chassis are popular for many types of racing cars, for example; Formula Ford and Formula Vee are restricted to tubular steel construction, Clubman racing cars must be of the "space frame" type and many original sports cars and sports sedans use space frame chassis. Many of the kit cars that are available in Australia are of space frame type construction such as Westfield Sports Car and the PRB Clubman and the AT Riciardi. In contrast to these budget sports cars is the Lamborghini Diablo, currently one of the fastest road cars it employs a space frame chassis (Sports Car World, 1990/91). Two cars with aluminium space frame chassis currently undergoing development for mass production are the Pininfarina Ethos (Motor, 1992) and the Audi Avus (Chiton's Automotive Industries, 1992).

are the Pininfarina Ethos (Motor, 1992) and the Audi Avus (Chiton's Automotive Industries, 1992). Page 26

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Audi Avus

Pininfarina Ethos Figure 2.19 - Modern Cars with Space Frames Aluminium monocoques are required in

Pininfarina Ethos Figure 2.19 - Modern Cars with Space Frames

Aluminium monocoques are required in Australia's premier open wheeler racing category, Formula Holden,

and carbon fibre monocoques are found in Formula 2, Formula Libre and Sports Sedan cars in Australia.

Carbon fibre monocoques provide the basic structure for many of the latest breed of supercars such as Ferrari

F40, Jaguar XJ220, Bugatti EB110, McLaren F1 and the Yamaha OX99-11.

XJ220, Bugatti EB110, McLaren F1 and the Yamaha OX99-11. Yamaha OX99-11 McLaren F1 Jaguar XJ220 Figure

Yamaha OX99-11

EB110, McLaren F1 and the Yamaha OX99-11. Yamaha OX99-11 McLaren F1 Jaguar XJ220 Figure 2.20 -

McLaren F1

McLaren F1 and the Yamaha OX99-11. Yamaha OX99-11 McLaren F1 Jaguar XJ220 Figure 2.20 - Monocoque

Jaguar XJ220

Figure 2.20 - Monocoque Chassis Road Cars

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2.8 Background of Clubman Cars

As part of this project theoretical and laboratory analysis of the Westfield Sports Car chassis was carried out. As this is a clubman style car, background on clubman cars has been included in this report.

The basic formula that defines a clubman car would be: A front longitudinally mounted engine, two seats in an open cockpit with no doors, live rear axle, multitubular space frame chassis and front wheels separate from the main body of the car. A typical car is shown in Figure 2.21.

main body of the car. A typical car is shown in Figure 2.21. Figure 2.21 -

Figure 2.21 - Westfield Sports Car Two of the earliest clubman cars were the Lotus Mark 6, which was being produced in 1954 and the Ginnetta G2 which was put into production in 1958. Based around multitubular space frames with aluminium body panels, these cars were designed to provide an unprecedented level of performance at a price affordable to the average motoring enthusiast. Their appointments were sparse, with little concession to comfort. They were suitable for transport during the week and could perform well on the racing track or in trials at the weekend.

well on the racing track or in trials at the weekend. Figure 2.22 - Ginnetta G2
well on the racing track or in trials at the weekend. Figure 2.22 - Ginnetta G2

Figure 2.22 - Ginnetta G2 Many specials' constructors and limited production manufacturers have since produced similar clubman cars, some copies of the more recognised designs, others of more original design, but the principals of the clubman have led to these cars often looking similar and usually performing well.

The structural design of these cars is often very similar, many being based on a Lotus design for the Lotus Seven which first appeared in 1957. Since this time engine power outputs have risen, the price of steel has dropped, spring rates of the suspension have risen and there have been significant advances in tyre technology. Hence there is the desire to improve the chassis to gain the most advantage from these changes.

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Figure 2.23 - Lotus Seven Body Elfin Sports Cars first produced the clubman car shown

Figure 2.23 - Lotus Seven Body

Elfin Sports Cars first produced the clubman car shown in Figure 2.20 in Australia in 1962. Currently clubman cars are available in Australia in kit form from Westfield Sports Cars (WA), PRB Motors (NSW), Tilke Engineering (NSW) and Fraser Cars Ltd (New Zealand). Specifications and general information concerning the Westfield Sports Car is included in Appendix A.

general information concerning the Westfield Sports Car is included in Appendix A. Figure 2.24 - Elfin

Figure 2.24 - Elfin Clubman Car

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3 ANALYSIS OF THE WESTFIELD SPORTS CAR

3.1 Introduction

To investigate vehicle chassis analysis, a Westfield SEi chassis supplied by Westfield Sports Cars Australia was used. The stiffness of this chassis was investigated using a finite element computer model. The computer model was validated using the results of laboratory testing. Two tests were carried out for evaluation of the computer model.

i) Bending stiffness of the chassis.

ii) Torsional stiffness of the chassis.

The effect of variations on the torsional stiffness of the chassis was investigated using a computer model. The model was created for, and analysed with PAFEC finite element software on an Apollo workstation. Variations that were tested were aimed at either improving the torsional stiffness of the chassis or reducing construction costs.

Only the stiffness of the chassis was investigated because of the following reasons:

i) The strength of the Westfield Sports Car has been well proven

ii) Measurement of stresses is expensive and was beyond the finances available to this project

iii) Computer stress analysis of a vehicle requires a much more complicated model than does stiffness analysis. The number of load cases that must be considered for stress analysis also extends the time required to set up and analyse a model.

iv) Stresses predicted by a model can only be as accurate as the loads that are used. To determine loads with reasonable accuracy would require special measuring equipment, unavailable to this project. Alternatively loads may be used as determined from other peoples work, however it appeared that the references that were available (Garrett 1953 and Costin and Phipps 1965) were somewhat dated as are the analysis methods that were used when these load cases were first suggested.

v) Developments in suspension and tyre technology mean that the cornering performance of the car is likely to benefit from improved chassis stiffness.

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A quick overview of the activities that were involved in testing and analysis follows:

Laboratory Testing Construction of sub frames for attachment of chassis to testing frame. Setting up the chassis, loading devices and measuring equipment for testing. Carrying out the test. Recording observations and the results of the test for later analysis and scrutiny.

Theoretical Model Analysis Determining the geometry of the model Creating a data file that describes the geometry of the chassis, member and section properties, loads and restraints. Checking the data for errors Analysis of the model Interpretation of the results of analysis.

3.2 Determination of Chassis Geometry

The physical characteristics of the chassis were required for a theoretical model of the chassis to be generated. Information such as section types and plate thicknesses were available from the management of Westfield's, however no plans or drawings of the chassis were available. Two methods of determining chassis geometry were considered:

i) Survey using optical surveying instruments.

ii) Tape measure, measuring from reference beams.

At the time it was thought that an optical survey would provide the most accurate measurement of the chassis geometry, so with the assistance of Associate Professor L. A. White a survey of the chassis was commenced.

Two theodolites, two subtense bars and the chassis were layed out as shown in Figure 3.1. A subtense bar is a bar with markings accurately calibrated to two metres.

were layed out as shown in Figure 3.1. A subtense bar is a bar with markings

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Figure 3.1 - Layout of Chassis Survey

Vertical and horizontal angles to each end of the subtense bars and several of the nodes were observed and the

This data enabled calculation of positions of the nodes in

three dimensional space. However the chassis survey technique of measurement was found unsuitable for the following reasons:

distance between stations A and B was measured.

i) Making the observations was very time consuming.

ii) A check on measurements determined by the survey with a tape showed errors of 4 to 7mm.

The time consuming nature of the theodolite observations and the large errors were partly to the level of skill of the operator.

The geometry of the chassis was subsequently measured using a tape. Beams were clamped to the chassis to act as a reference for measurements. A one fifth scale orthogonal drawing was produced as a reference for further work. A copy of this drawing has been included in Appendix B.

The geometry of the theoretical model was compiled into standard file format for the PAFEC finite element software by typing the node coordinates, member connectivities and other information defining loads, restraints and member properties. A graphics interface was used for checking that information was correct. The following diagram, Figure 3.2 shows the global axes of the model. This is the axes system used consistently in this report.

This is the axes system used consistently in this report. Figure 3.2 - Axes System 3.2

Figure 3.2 - Axes System

3.2 Chassis Bending Stiffness 3.2.1 Laboratory Test Description and Procedure

The chassis bending test of the Westfield Sports Car involved simply supporting the chassis on its front and rear extremities as shown in Figure 3.3 and applying loads near the middle of the chassis while the deflections at known positions were measured.

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Figure 3.3 - Chassis Bending Test The chassis was placed on timber blocks in the

Figure 3.3 - Chassis Bending Test

The chassis was placed on timber blocks in the four restraint positions shown in Figure 3.3. The blocks were supported on a smooth concrete floor. Dial gauges were set up to measure deflections at nodes 12 and 24 relative to the concrete floor. A load hanger was placed midway between nodes 151 and 154 on which dead weights were placed.

The following steps were carried out during testing:

i) The chassis was first proof loaded to with 50 kg to bed in the chassis at the supports and to ensure the chassis was sitting evenly on its supports.

ii) The proof load was removed and dial gauge readings were observed at nodes 12 and 24.

iii) A load of 10 kg was applied and dial gauge readings at nodes 12 and 24 were observed. This was repeated for loads of 10 kg, 20 kg, 40 kg, 50 kg and 60 kg. Observations were made as the load was increased to 60 kg and then reduced in the same increments back to zero.

iv) Dial gauge deflections were then observed for a loading pattern of 0 kg, 50 kg, 0 kg, 50 kg, 0 kg.

v) The average deflections of the gauges at nodes 12 and 24 were calculated for the load increments. These are plotted in Figure 4.1 in the results section.

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3.1.2 Theoretical Analysis Description

The chassis model was created using primarily PAFEC type 34000 beam elements. These elements are straight uniform beams with two nodes. They cater for bending in two principal directions, axial forces and twisting about the shear centre. The beam section is described by second moments of area Iyy and Izz, area A and torsional constant C (same as J). The flexural and shear centres of this element must coincide. Six degrees of freedom are modelled at each of the two nodes of this element; U x , U y , U z , φ x , φ y and φ z . Figure 3.4 shows the degrees of freedom of the 34000 element.

3.4 shows the degrees of freedom of the 34000 element. Figure 3.4 - PAFEC 34000 Beam
3.4 shows the degrees of freedom of the 34000 element. Figure 3.4 - PAFEC 34000 Beam

Figure 3.4 - PAFEC 34000 Beam Element

The theoretical basis of this model is that bending displacements in each direction vary as a cubic along the length, giving linearly varying bending moments. Axial force and twisting moment are constant along the length. Results produced by this element are exact in statics. The beam members in the model are represented by the member centre lines.

Other elements used in the model were the suspension members which were only axial force elements and plate elements for the engine and gearbox mounts. The plate elements were capable of accepting both in plane and out of plane forces.

The elements of the model were separated into eleven groups of similar members with the same sectional properties. This was done to enable quick and simple specification and changing of member properties. A diagram showing the node numbering and the data file which defined the chassis model is included in Appendix C. Figure 3.5 on the following page shows the member groups and their colours with brief explanations of each of the groups used in the model.

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Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the
Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups The restraints and loading used for the

Figure 3.5 - Standard Chassis Model Member Groups

The restraints and loading used for the chassis bending analysis as a model of the chassis bending test are shown in Figure 3.6.

a model of the chassis bending test are shown in Figure 3.6. Figure 3.6 - Chassis

Figure 3.6 - Chassis Bending Model

The chosen value of the load was not

important, just that the value was known because the theory used to analyse the model assumed linear elastic response.

A load of 1000 N was applied mid way between nodes 151 and 154.

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3.3 Chassis Torsional Stiffness 3.3.1 Laboratory Test Description and Procedure

The torsional stiffness test was carried out in the Curtin University of Technology Civil Engineering concrete laboratory, using a substantial reaction frame designed for testing concrete beams. The chassis was supported on the frame at three points; one front and two rear simulated wishbones. The connections to the wishbones were retained by loosely fitting bolts that allowed the connections to act as joints pinned in three dimensions. The simulated wishbones along with solid links replacing the spring and shock absorber units distribute test loads into the chassis similarly to how loads in a car are transmitted through the suspension.

At the rear of the chassis, restraint from rotation about the longitudinal X axis was provided by the wishbone connections. At the front of the chassis the one wishbone connection prevented mechanistic rotation of the chassis and facilitated the application of a torque loading to the front of the chassis.

The load was applied at the unsupported front wishbone and deflections of the chassis were measured by dial gauges supported from the reaction frame. Loads were applied as steel dead weights in 20 kg and 18.1 kg increments with deflections observed at selected node points for each increment. Figure 3.7 shows the chassis with simulated wishbones and the loading and restraint conditions.

wishbones and the loading and restraint conditions. Figure 3.7 - Chassis Torsional Test The test was
wishbones and the loading and restraint conditions. Figure 3.7 - Chassis Torsional Test The test was
wishbones and the loading and restraint conditions. Figure 3.7 - Chassis Torsional Test The test was

Figure 3.7 - Chassis Torsional Test The test was carried out on two occasions; after the first test was carried out, inspection of the results indicated inconsistent load - deflection behaviour. To rectify this two steps were taken before and during the second test:

i) The removal of a pulley through which the load was initially being applied.

The pulley allowed the

vertical load to be applied upwards, however it appeared that the pulley was jamming when load was applied.

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ii)

After incrementing the load, the chassis was tapped with a small block of wood until the dial gauge readings became steady, before deflections were observed.

The testing procedure was carried out as follows:

i) The chassis and subframes were set up in the test frame as shown in Figure 3.7.

ii) Dial gauges were set up at selected nodes on the chassis. Two dial gauges at the front measured rotation at the front while two dial gauges at the rear measured rotation of the rear of the chassis. Deflections were measured at the rear of the chassis because although the rear was prevented from mechanistic rotation, elastic deformations of the sub frame and wishbones allowed some rotation.

iii) Distances between dial gauges and the load lever arm were measured with a tape.

iv) A 60 kg proof load was applied to settle in the chassis at its supports. Loads were applied at the front wishbone as shown in Figure 3.7.

v) Dial gauge readings were observed before loading was commenced. Loads were then applied and removed in the pattern shown in Figure 3.8. Before observing dial gauge readings and after the load was applied, the chassis was tapped with a small block of wood until dial gauge readings stabilised.

vi) Measurements of distance between dial gauges and load lever arm distance were checked.

A full set of observations from the laboratory tests is given in Appendix D.

observations from the laboratory tests is given in Appendix D. Figure 3.8 - Pattern of Loading
observations from the laboratory tests is given in Appendix D. Figure 3.8 - Pattern of Loading
observations from the laboratory tests is given in Appendix D. Figure 3.8 - Pattern of Loading
observations from the laboratory tests is given in Appendix D. Figure 3.8 - Pattern of Loading

Figure 3.8 - Pattern of Loading for Torsional Test

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3.3.2 Theoretical Analysis Description

The chassis model was the same as that used for the bending analysis but the loads and supports were changed to model the torsion test conditions. The restraints and loading used for the chassis torsional analysis are shown in Figure 3.9.

for the chassis torsional analysis are shown in Figure 3.9. Figure 3.9 - Chassis Torsional Test
for the chassis torsional analysis are shown in Figure 3.9. Figure 3.9 - Chassis Torsional Test

Figure 3.9 - Chassis Torsional Test Model

The load applied to the front wishbone was 1000 N. Where deflections for other loads are required the deflections obtained from analysis with the 1000 N load may be scaled directly proportionally to the change of load because the computer model was linear.

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4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

4.1 Bending Test and Bending Analysis

The chassis bending test was a simple test which was carried out to help establish the accuracy of the theoretical model of the chassis.

The chassis was loaded between nodes 151 and 154 with deflections at nodes 12 and 24 being observed. (These nodes have been identified previously in Figure 3.6). The average vertical deflections of nodes 12 and 24 are plotted for different loads in Figure 4.1.

12 and 24 are plotted for different loads in Figure 4.1. Figure 4.1 - Load Deflection
12 and 24 are plotted for different loads in Figure 4.1. Figure 4.1 - Load Deflection

Figure 4.1 - Load Deflection Response of Chassis Bending

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The relationship between load and deflection observed in the test followed a linear pattern with a coefficient of

correlation, r 2 = 0.995. The measured stiffness of the chassis in bending is less than the calculated stiffness by about 11%. The linear relationship between load and deflection from Figure 4.1 being:

Observed stiffness:

Δ = load 0.70

Theoretical stiffness:

Δ = load 0.62

where Δ = deflection in mm, load = load in kN

The linear relationship for observed stiffness ignores the permanent set which is labelled in Figure 4.1. The

permanent set was probably the result of local crushing of the timber supports where high spots of welds were

in contact with the supports.

The difference in stiffness between the model and the measured stiffness of 11% may be due at least partly to

the following reason. The chassis was supported on timber blocks into which stresses were transmitted across

the grain. These timber blocks were quite thick and supported the chassis on a relatively small bearing area.

As any deflections at the supports will be reflected in the measured deflections, compression of the supports

will result in measured stiffness apparently less than the actual stiffness of the chassis. A quick check for

elastic compression of the supports indicates that up to 1 - 3% of the difference may be as a result of

deformation in the supports. This does not include local deformation of the supports which may occur where

there are local high spots in the chassis above the supports.

Other reasons for the model stiffness differing from the observed stiffness were: The supports used in the test

may not have been properly level. Some member eccentricities were difficult to include in the model and

where they were not large they were excluded. This would increase the effectiveness of the bracing and

slightly increase the stiffness of the model.

Angular deformation of the members to which the dial gauges were attached may have caused increases to the

observed deflections.

The shape of the deflected chassis undergoing bending was determined from the model. Deflections for the

bottom plane outer edge members are plotted in Figure 4.2 for a load of 1000 N between nodes 151 and 154.

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Figure 4.2 - Shape of Chassis for Calculated Bending Test The average deflections of nodes
Figure 4.2 - Shape of Chassis for Calculated Bending Test The average deflections of nodes

Figure 4.2 - Shape of Chassis for Calculated Bending Test

The average deflections of nodes 12 and 24 are shown in Figure 4.2 by a dashed line. The maximum vertical

deflection of the chassis between front and rear wheel centres of 0.26mm is shown on Figure 4.2.

The observed vertical deflection of 0.26 mm per 1000 N can be linearly extrapolated to 1.73 mm per 680 kg

mid span load. This compares to a recommended bending stiffness of not more than 1.27mm deflection for a

mid span load of 680 kg by Fenton (1980). The bending stiffness achieved by the Westfield Sports Car chassis

is obviously less than that recommended by Fenton, however Fenton's recommendations include no discussion

on the weight of the vehicle for which his recommendation is made. It would be logical to include the weight

of a car in a recommendation for bending stiffness as the bending deflections are likely to increase

proportionally to the weight of the car.

The sharp change in stiffness graph of Figure 4.2 at point A is as a consequence of the presentation of the data

for this graph. Point A is an external node on the bottom plane of the chassis, point B is a node on the same

member as point A, but it is closer to the longitudinal centreline of the chassis and directly under the rear

support. Also there is no reason for concern over a sharp decrease in the stiffness of the chassis in this position

because this part of the structure is outside of the wheelbase of the car and only subject to small loads.

4.2 Torsional Test and Torsional Analysis

The chassis torsional stiffness test was carried out to establish the accuracy of the theoretical model of the

chassis.

As mentioned earlier the torsional stiffness test was carried out on two occasions. In the first instance there

was large scatter of the results and virtually no consistency. This was thought to be the result of applying the

The pulley was not of good quality and although it appeared to run Page 41

load through a pulley in the first test.

smoothly and freely when unloaded, it was likely that the pulley was binding against the pulley shaft when load was applied. Thus the pulley was discarded for the second test.

Another precaution that was taken for the second test was to tap several times checking that dial gauge positions did not fluctuate before dial gauge readings were recorded.

The results of the first torsional test are not included in this report because due to their inconsistent nature, they are of little use.

The torsional deflection response for the second torsion test of the Westfield Sports Car chassis is shown in Figure 4.3. The load deflection response calculated from the chassis model is also shown on this graph for comparison with the measured response.

on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The
on this graph for comparison with the measured response. Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response The

Figure 4.3 Torsional Load Deflection Response

The results of the second torsional stiffness test show very little scatter. A response which is clearly linear may be observed.

For the torsional stiffness test, deflections were measured at the front and rear of the chassis on each side of the chassis at nodes 102 and 123 at the front and nodes 105 and 111 at the rear. Figure 3.9 previously defined these node numbers.

To calculate the torsional stiffness, the rotation at the rear of the chassis was subtracted from the rotation at the front of the chassis. The torque applied at the front of the chassis was calculated from the magnitude and lever arm of the load. Thus the torsional stiffness was the Torque applied divided by the rotation between the front and rear of the chassis.

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The torsional stiffness of the chassis in the test calculated in this way was 1134 Nm/deg on average (see Figure 4.4) and the stiffness of the model was 1121 Nm/deg.

Figure 4.4) and the stiffness of the model was 1121 Nm/deg. Figure 4.4 - Scatter of

Figure 4.4 - Scatter of Measured Torsional Stiffness For the torsional test errors such as error of measurement of the chassis geometry, approximations in the model by ignoring some eccentricities and error in reading dial gauges should be the same as those for the bending stiffness test.

Page 43

The difference between the measured torsional stiffness of 1134 Nm/deg and the model torsional stiffness of 1121 Nm/deg of 1.2% was extremely good and suggests that the model was a good representation of the chassis. The range of torsional stiffness observed during testing was from +5.4% to -10.4% of the model stiffness. The biggest difference of 10.4% between model and test is still within the average difference observed for the bending test

When the torsional stiffness of the model was calculated from the rotation of the front suspension wishbones with the rear wishbone restrained from movement by the supports, the torsional stiffness of the chassis was found to be 1050 Nm/degree. The difference between the two calculated stiffnesses is due to the position of the load relative to where the stiffness was measured. Measuring the torsional stiffness from the wishbones resulted in an apparently more flexible structure because the loads and supports were attached directly to the wishbones. Nodes 102, 123, 111 and 115 were away from the loads and supports which were the most highly stressed regions, thus the measured stiffness was higher.

The graph of angular deflections along the chassis in Figure 4.5 highlights the most flexible areas of the chassis. The most flexible areas, which are where the curve is steepest are the first 70mm from the front of the chassis and 200mm to 500mm from the front of the chassis which is in the engine bay area. The stiffest parts of the chassis is the 250mm directly behind the hoop on which the steering wheel is mounted and the very front of the chassis, after the first 70mm and where there is corner bracing in the front, top plane of the engine bay.

If the entire chassis was able to be increased to the same stiffness as directly behind the steering hoop, the chassis would have a torsional stiffness of over 2000 Nm/deg.

the chassis would have a torsional stiffness of over 2000 Nm/deg. Figure 4.5 - Torsional Deflections
the chassis would have a torsional stiffness of over 2000 Nm/deg. Figure 4.5 - Torsional Deflections
the chassis would have a torsional stiffness of over 2000 Nm/deg. Figure 4.5 - Torsional Deflections

Figure 4.5 - Torsional Deflections Along Chassis

Page 44

4.3 Torsional Stiffness - Chassis Variations

A number of variations to the standard chassis have been considered. Mostly these variations are intended to

be suitable for production at some time in the future, however some less practical variations have been

considered on the basis that they may help understanding of the structural actions of the chassis. Table 4.1 to

Table 4.7 describe the various changes made and the effect of these changes on the torsional stiffness and

weight of the chassis. Following each table is a graph with the torsional stiffness along the length of the

chassis plotted. In each case Car1, the standard chassis configuration is included as a reference. The

variations to the chassis are shown graphically in Appendix E along with information about masses, centres of

mass and moments of inertia of the chassis variations.

The types of variations to the basic chassis structure are grouped together according to the type of change

which was made. In general terms the changes which resulted in a worthwhile increase in chassis stiffness

were extra centre tunnel bracing, increased member section sizes with same or even reduced wall thicknesses,

extra engine bay bracing and extra bracing in the nose. The changes which were least desirable were the

removal of the existing main engine bay brace and attaching steel plates to various areas such as the front of

the drive train tunnel and the sides of the engine bay.

Table 4.1 - Standard Chassis Models

File

Description

 

Torsional

Weight

% Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

 

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car1

Standard chassis with minimum three point restraint

         
 

Torsional

stiffness

calculated

as

per

1121

63.3

     

laboratory test

 
 

Torsional

stiffness

calculated

from

1050

63.3

0.0

0.0

16.6

wishbones deflections

 

Car20

As Car1, but using PIGS generated data file (as a check)

1050

63.3

0.0

0.0

16.6

Car23

This file models the bending stiffness test

 

63.3

 

0.0

 

Hereafter all files are the same as the standard Westfield Sports Car chassis except for those variations

specified. Minimum three point restraint and torsional stiffness calculated from deflections at the wishbones is

used consistently.

Page 45

Table 4.2 - Category I, Changes to Member Sizes

File

Description

 

Torsional

Weight

% Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

 

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car2

Top plane members changed to 31.8 x

1152

64.4

9.7

1.7

17.9

1.6

SHS

Car3

Bottom plane members changed to 31.8 x 1.6 SHS

1112

65.2

5.9

3.0

17.1

Car 16

Top and bottom plane members changed to 40 x 1.2 SHS

2051

71.0

95.3

12.2

28.9

Car26

Bottom side members changed to 40 x

1185

67.0

12.9

5.8

17.7

1.6

SHS

Car27

Bottom and top side members changed to 40 x 1.6 SHS

1412

69.4

34.5

9.6

20.3

Car29

All

member

changed

to

40x40x1.0

2845

74.6

171

17.9

38.1

SHS

 
2845 74.6 171 17.9 38.1 SHS   Figure 4.6 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Changes to
2845 74.6 171 17.9 38.1 SHS   Figure 4.6 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Changes to
2845 74.6 171 17.9 38.1 SHS   Figure 4.6 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Changes to
2845 74.6 171 17.9 38.1 SHS   Figure 4.6 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Changes to

Figure 4.6 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Changes to Member Sizes

Changes to member sizes produced the biggest increases in torsional stiffness to weight ratio when the section

sizes of the members were increased significantly and the wall thicknesses of the hollow members decreased.

Comparing changes of the top longitudinal members to changes to the bottom longitudinal members showed

that changes to the top longitudinal members produced a more pronounced effect on torsional stiffness.

Page 46

Table 4.3 - Category II, Changes to the Engine Bay

File

Description

 

Torsional

Weight

% Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

 

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car4

Extra brace in top plane of engine bay

1261

63.8

20.1

0.8

19.8

Car5

Side bracing in engine bay changed

 

1040

63.5

-1.0

0.3

16.4

Car6

Extra

lateral

member

across

top

of

1105

64.0

5.2

1.1

17.3

engine bay

 

Car9

Extra top, right hand engine bay brace

1060

63.8

1.0

0.8

16.6

Car10

Normal engine bay brace removed

 

683

62.5

-35.0

-1.3

10.9

Car11

Normal engine bay brace replaced by LH and RH braces

1148

63.5

9.3

0.3

18.1

Car15

Engine bay side braces replaced by 1mm steel panels

1061

66.9

1.0

5.7

15.9

Car 18

Extra cross members in engine bay

 

1475

64.9

40.5

2.5

22.7

in engine bay   1475 64.9 40.5 2.5 22.7 Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of
in engine bay   1475 64.9 40.5 2.5 22.7 Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of
in engine bay   1475 64.9 40.5 2.5 22.7 Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of
in engine bay   1475 64.9 40.5 2.5 22.7 Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of
in engine bay   1475 64.9 40.5 2.5 22.7 Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of

Figure 4.7 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Engine Bay Changes

Page 47

The changes around the engine bay consisted of changes to the top plane bracing, changes to the bracing in the side of the engine bay and use of plates instead of bracing in the sides.

Additional bracing in the top plane, correctly positioned achieved an excellent increase in torsional stiffness for a simple change. When the added bracing was not well positioned only insignificant increases to torsional stiffness were observed. The removal of the main top plane engine bay brace caused a dramatic reduction in the torsional stiffness of the chassis.

Changes to the the bracing in the side of the engine bay was carried out so that the degree of triangulation was not reduced. Consequently there was no large changes to the torsional stiffness for the variations analysed.

Using plates instead of bracing was a solution which increased the weight of the chassis with no significant gain in torsional stiffness.

Page 48

Table 4.4 - Category III, Addition of bracing to Chassis Nose

File

Description

Torsional

Weight

% Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car8

Nose fully braced (some of this may not be practical)

1453

65.8

38.4

3.9

22.1

Car17

Extra nose bracing

1334

65.0

27.0

2.7

20.5

Car24

Some extra nose bracing

1149

64.0

9.4

1.1

18.0

Car25

Some extra nose bracing

1215

64.6

15.7

2.1

18.8

extra nose bracing 1215 64.6 15.7 2.1 18.8 Figure 4.8 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Chassis
extra nose bracing 1215 64.6 15.7 2.1 18.8 Figure 4.8 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Chassis

Figure 4.8 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Chassis with Extra Bracing

Bracing added to the nose of the chassis produced some worthwile increases in torsional stiffness. The fully

braced nosed produced a 38% increse in torsional stiffness, and while this may not be practical for production,

each of the other changes that were more suitable for production resulted in an increased stiffness to weight

ratio.

The nose is a relatively short part of the overall length of the chassis so the magnitude of these increases in

stiffness was unexpected.

Page 49

Table 4.5 - Category IV, Changes to the Centre Tunnel

File

Description

Torsional

Weight

%

Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car12

1mm steel plates tunnel

added to

front of

1157

71.1

10.2

12.3

16.3

Car19

Extra centre tunnel bracing, except on bottom plane

1450

67.6

38.1

6.8

21.4

Car21

Extra centre tunnel bracing all around

1504

68.4

43.2

8.1

22.0

Car28

Tunnel members changed to 25 x 1.6 SHS

1183

65.9

12.7

4.1

18.0

to 25 x 1.6 SHS 1183 65.9 12.7 4.1 18.0 Figure 4.9 - Torsional Stiffness Plots
to 25 x 1.6 SHS 1183 65.9 12.7 4.1 18.0 Figure 4.9 - Torsional Stiffness Plots
to 25 x 1.6 SHS 1183 65.9 12.7 4.1 18.0 Figure 4.9 - Torsional Stiffness Plots

Figure 4.9 - Torsional Stiffness Plots of Centre Tunnel Changes

Fully bracing the centre tunnel section, which had external dimensions of 220mm x 140mm over the main part

of its length produced a 43% increase in torsional stiffness. This shows that the centre tunnel section plays an

important part in the overall torsional stiffness of the chassis. Fully bracing the centre tunnel may not be

practical in that it would restrict access to the driveshaft which passes through this tunnel. Bracing the tunnel

on all but the bottom plane also resulted in a large increase in torsional stiffness of 38%. Welding plates to the

tunnel section was a solution which was not analysed but could be worthwhile considering in the future.

Table 4.6 - Category V, Use of Plates

File

Description

Torsional

Weight

%

Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car12

1mm steel plates tunnel

added to

front of

1157

71.1

10.2

12.3

16.3

Car14

Altered engine support beams webbed with 1mm plate

1179

64.4

12.3

1.7

18.3

Page 50

Car15

Engine bay side braces replaced by 1mm steel panels

1061

66.9

1.0

5.7

15.9

1mm steel panels 1061 66.9 1.0 5.7 15.9 Figure 4.10 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Changes
1mm steel panels 1061 66.9 1.0 5.7 15.9 Figure 4.10 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Changes
1mm steel panels 1061 66.9 1.0 5.7 15.9 Figure 4.10 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Changes

Figure 4.10 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Changes Using Plates

The increases in torsional stiffness that were achieved by adding plates to the chassis were generally offset by the increases in weight and reduction in accessibility that resulted from using plates. The plated engine support beams gave a torsional stiffness increase of 12% but the engine support beams were also modified in this case. The modified engine support beams increased torsional stiffness by 11% without the use of plates. These results should not be construed to suggest that plate solutions will not be viable, rather that the variations which were tested were not particularly viable.

Page 51

Table 4.7 - Category VI, Other Changes

File

Description

 

Torsional

Weight

% Chan ge from Ca r1

Stiffness

 

Stiffness

(kg)

to Weight

(Nm/deg)

Stiffness

Weight

Ratio

Car7

Member added under gearbox (Node 61 to 63)

1066

63.6

1.5

0.5

16.8

Car13

Geometry

of

engine

support

beams

1163

63.3

10.8

0.0

18.4

altered

Car14

Altered engine support beams webbed with 1mm plate

1179

64.4

12.3

1.7

18.3

webbed with 1mm plate 1179 64.4 12.3 1.7 18.3 Figure 4.11 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for
webbed with 1mm plate 1179 64.4 12.3 1.7 18.3 Figure 4.11 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for

Figure 4.11 - Torsional Stiffness Plots for Other Changes

The modified engine support beams gave an 11% increase of torsional stiffness for a relatively simple change

in geometry and no increase in weight. The member under the gearbox was a change that would be difficult to

put into production. The effect of this member was minimal.

Page 52

The changes that have been considered are only a sample of the changes that could be considered in a serious effort to improve the torsional stiffness of this chassis. For instance no additional bracing was considered for the rear part of the chassis. The changes that were considered targeted the more flexible areas of the chassis, as indicated by the torsional stiffness diagram, Figure 4.5 where changes could be made without disrupting the layout of the chassis. Where positive improvements to the chassis have been determined, these changes could be refined by further analysis with the computer model.

Page 53

5 CONCLUSIONS

The first objective of this project that was carried out was to investigate the use of a computer model for predicting the stiffness of a vehicle chassis. The space frame type chassis of the Westfield Sports Car was modelled using finite element software. The model consisted of mainly beam elements and it was found that a beam model predicted the stiffness of the chassis with good accuracy.

The accuracy of the computer model was established from carrying out the same tests both in the laboratory and with the computer model and comparing the results. Two distinct tests were carried out that were bending stiffness and torsional stiffness.

The bending stiffness test showed that the computer model was within 11% of the laboratory observations. This difference may be partly accounted for by a problem with the way the laboratory test was carried out. The chassis was supported on compressible timber supports and because this was not foreseen as a problem, no measurement of the deflections at the supports were taken during the test. Consequently the results of the test indicated the chassis was more flexible than it actually was. The computer model was stiffer than the results of the bending test so at least some of the 11% difference was due to compression at the supports in the laboratory test.

The torsional stiffness test did not have the problems of the bending test and comparison between model and average measured stiffnesses was of the order of 1%. The torsional stiffness was measured a number of times for different loads and the range of all measurements was about 10% if the extremes are discarded. The 1% difference between the model and average observed stiffness is well within this 10% range. Hence the accuracy to which the model can be confirmed is limited by the accuracy of test measurements.

The load deflection response of the chassis was consistent and linear for both laboratory tests which further confirms the use of a simple beam model based on linear elastic theory.

The second objective that was carried out was to make use of the computer model for testing changes to the chassis. The torsional stiffness only was tested for the chassis modifications because it was desirable for the torsional stiffness of the chassis to be improved, where as the bending stiffness was already adequate.

Page 54

There were a number of changes that Westfield Sports Cars may test further on a full scale chassis and there were a number of other changes that may be beneficial. The changes fell into five broad categories:

i) Changes to member sizes

ii) Addition or removal of bracing in the engine bay

iii) Addition of bracing to the nose of the chassis

iv) Addition of members to the centre tunnel

v) Use of plates instead of bracing

vi) Other changes

The first category which was changes to member sizes showed excellent improvements to torsional stiffness for a minimal weight penalty with increased section sizes. Reducing the wall thicknesses of the hollow members when the section sizes were increased minimised increases of weight in the chassis. The most pronounced effects of changing member sizes were observed where members in areas with a lack of bracing were changed such as the top and bottom plane members in the engine bay and cockpit. The largest increase of stiffness of all the changes analysed, changing all members to 40x40x1.0 SHS, was in this category. Although this change could not be directly incorporated into manufacture of new Westfield’s because there is physically not enough space in some places for these larger members, it demonstrates the efficiency of larger section sizes and smaller wall thicknesses for this type of chassis.

The second category which was the addition and removal of bracing in the engine bay showed that the bracing in the top plane of the engine bay was very significant. The removal of the existing main engine bay brace in the top plane reduced torsional stiffness by 35% while adding a second main engine bay brace in the top plane increased the torsional stiffness by 20%. No major changes were made to the side bracing of the engine bay but presumably there is little potential for increased torsional stiffness by adding bracing to the sides because the sides are already well braced. Significant decreases in torsional stiffness would be likely if the side bracing of the engine bay is partly or wholly removed.

Page 55

Bracing in the nose of the chassis was the third category and some worthwhile increases in torsional stiffness were obtained with nose bracing. However at the nose of the car there are other requirements which limit the use of bracing. Steering arms protrude through the side of the nose and the engine cooling system limits bracing in the front plane. Thus the benefits of nose cone bracing indicated by the model would not achievable on a finished car.

Extra bracing of the centre tunnel was very effective in increasing the torsional stiffness of the model. The largest increase in torsional stiffness was observed when the centre tunnel was braced on the sides and top and bottom planes. The torsional stiffness increased by 43% for only an 8% increase in weight for this case. Changing the member section sizes of the tunnel increased torsional stiffness by 13% and while this increase is much less than that achieved with extra bracing, it would require less labour for construction than would the extra bracing. If additional bracing and increased section size is applied to the centre tunnel, the individual increases are very unlikely to be cumulative. The reason why increased member sizes gave such an increase in torsional stiffness was because the centre tunnel was poorly braced. With a well braced tunnel, section sizes will be much less significant.

The use of plates in the place of hollow section bracing was generally not structurally advantageous. Flat plates 1mm thick were analysed with the model. Where plates were used instead of hollow section bracing, the plated solution was heavier and the model suggested only a small increase in torsional stiffness. Plates of 1mm thickness were used because thinner plates may have been difficult to weld. It may be beneficial to investigate the use of thinner plates and also the use of profiled plates. Plate solutions have the advantage that they are simpler to fabricate than tubular members when no services are required to pass through the plate and disadvantages of restricting access through the chassis and difficulty of fabrication where services are required to pass through the plate.

The final category considered two unrelated changes; addition of a member under the gearbox and alteration of the engine support beams. The member under the gearbox would be a difficult member to add in practice and had little effect on torsional stiffness. Alteration of the engine support beams did not affect the weight of the chassis but produced a worthwhile increase in torsional stiffness of 11%. This change would be relatively simple and it should be considered for incorporation into production. The further addition of 1mm steel plates to the altered engine support beams had little effect.

Only a small number of the possible changes to the chassis have been analysed. With the work in creating and verifying the model already done, it would not require much more work to investigate numerous other changes. Testing a large number of changes to the chassis would have been a relatively simple task but in the context of this project it was seen as more advantageous to concentrate on establishing the accuracy of the model and showing how this was done. The results of a smaller number of variations could also be presented in more detail, making the use of a computer model for testing vehicle structures more clear.

With the importance of light weight and good stiffness for a car chassis and the high cost of building a testing prototype vehicles computer model analysis is likely to be cost effective method of determining upgrades to an existing chassis. Computer model analysis can be effective for large production and special production vehicles alike.

Page 56

5.1 Recommendations

From analysis of the computer model, there are a number of changes to the chassis that should be investigated for immediate inclusion into the production of the Westfield Sports Car chassis. The most practical and effective changes were:

i) Additional top plane engine bay brace

ii) Additional bracing of the centre tunnel

iii) Increased top plane member section size with same or reduced wall thickness.

iv) Geometry of the engine support beams altered

v) Extra nose bracing. Suitable bracing geometry may be determined by investigation of complete car and further analysis with the computer model.

In general for a structure of this type the stiffness will be increased for any given weight when section sizes are increased and wall thicknesses decreased. Such changes should be subject to further investigation to determine if welding thinner walls will cause a problem and if particular wall thicknesses are required for withstanding rust, abrasion and local stresses around mounting brackets such as suspension mounting brackets.

A recommendation not associated with the analysis of the Westfield Sports Car, comes from applying an engineering knowledge to the background information given in this report. It very beneficial to consider the weight of vehicle as well as the vehicle's purpose or engine size when recommending or legislating for stiffness of the vehicle. Whether torsional stiffness or bending stiffness is considered, the reason stiffness is required is to limit deflections. The deflections of a structure are just as dependent on the applied loads as the stiffness of the structure. In the case of a vehicle, the loads are as a direct result of the weight of the vehicle, thus any sensible recommendations or legislation for vehicle stiffness should include consideration for vehicle weight.

Page 57

5.2 Further Study

With the limited amount of time and resources available for a final year project, there remains much on the analysis of vehicle structures that could be investigated of the structure of the Westfield Sports Car. This project should provide a good background for any further work investigating vehicle loads, structures and dynamic response. The original intention to carry out a detailed stress analysis was not carried out, however diagrams were drawn and masses measured for around thirty components, covering the major components of the Westfield Sports Car. A lumped mass model from this data was partially completed for stress analysis work and could be made available. Information about the components of the Westfield Sports Car has been included in Appendix F.

Page 58

Atkinson, Scott

6 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Mr Atkinson provided a great deal of assistance with numerous computing problems, writing programs for manipulating data, fixing up sick computers, processing information for plotting and printing and transferring information between different computers.

Chandler Dr I Dr Chandler was always prepared to talk about ideas and problems encountered in the course of the project. I have enjoyed these discussions, often being infected with his positive attitude. His time spent

sifting through computer print outs or laboratory results to try a find where

I had gone wrong was invaluable. Dr Chandler has also helped to improve

the standard of this report by his efforts in proof reading several draft copies, making valuable comments.

Fox, Stephen

I wish to thank Mr Fox for his interest in my project and specially thank him for supplying the Westfield Sports Car chassis on which my project was based. It has also been a privilege talking to Mr Fox and learning from his experiences building road and racing cars.

Gard, Jaime

I would like to thank Mr Gard for the interest he has shown in my project and for the time he has spent discussing vehicles and vehicle structures with me, in particular his work chassis torsional testing and race car suspensions. Mr Gard has also spent time checking the accuracy of information in my report and I greatly appreciate this and express my sincere thanks.

Kong, Paul

Mr Kong has helped me by checking computer models for errors.

I would like to thank him for this.

Curtin University of Technology Civil Engineering laboratory technical staff The laboratory staff have provided assistance in carrying out laboratory tests, different to the testing normally carried out in the Curtin Civil laboratories.

Sceresini, Robert

Associate Professor L.A. White

I would like to thank Mr Sceresini for helping with physical problems such as moving chassis and lifting engines.

I extend my thanks for assistance in carrying out the survey of the chassis.

Page 59

7 REFERENCES

Baxter-Smallwood, J (1992) "FEA gets Lola rolling", Advanced Composites Engineering June

Beermann, H J (1989) The Analysis of Commercial Vehicle Structures, Mechanical Engineering Publications Ltd, London.

Bruhn, E F

(1958) Analysis and Design of Flight Vehicle Structures

Bureau of Transport and Communications Economics (1990) Cost of Road Crashes in Australia - 1988

Campbell, Colin (1973) Design of Racing Sports Cars, Robert Bentley Inc., Cambridge.

Campbell, Colin (1978) The Sports Car,: Its Design and Performance, Robert Bentley Inc., Cambridge.

Carey J (1991) "The G Force", Wheels Magazine, May

Carey, J (1992) "Max Factor", Wheels Magazine, May

Costin, M and Phipps, D (1965) Racing and Sports Car Chassis Design, B. T. Batsford Ltd, London

Cotton, M (1988) Classic Porsche Racing Cars, Patrick Stephens Ltd, England.

Coulter, J (1986) The Lotus and Caterham Sevens, Motor Racing Publications Ltd., England.

Crombac, G (1986) Colin Chapman. The Man and His Cars, Patrick Stephens Ltd, England.

Dubensky, R G (1986) What Every Engineer Should Know About Finite Element Analysis Methods, Chrysler Motors Corp.

Federal Office of Road Safety (1989) Australian Design Rules for Motor Vehicles and Trailers, Third Edition, Federal Department of Transport and Communications.

Fenton, J (1980) Vehicle Layout and Analysis, Mechanical Engineering Publications, London.

Fothergill, D J, Southall, R, Osmond, E, (1984) "Computer Aided Concept Design of a Sports Car Chassis System", Proceedings of Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Gard, J (1992) Oral Communication

Garrett, K (1953) "Automobile Dynamic Loads", Automobile Engineer, February

Garrett, T K (1953) "Structure Design", Automobile Engineer, March/April

General Motors Holden's (1990) FEM of Motor Body Structures, ACADS Seminar, 25 June 1990

Greenway, W R, (1969/70) "Automobile Body Testing Techniques", Proceedings of Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Lake, B (1992) "Budget Barnstormers", Motor Magazine, September

McCarthy, M, (1987) Great Australian Sports Cars and Specials, Australian Consolidated Press, Sydney.

National Council of CAMS, (19992) CAMS 1992 Manual of Motor Sport 1992, Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.

Page 60

Niemi, E, Makelainen, P (1990) Tubular Structures, Third International Symposium,

PAFEC Limited (1984) Data Preparation User Manual Level 6.1

PAFEC Limited (1984) PAFEC Theory

Page, E (1991) "Two Way Stretch", Wheels Magazine, October

Palmer Tube Mills Australia Pty Ltd (1991) Catalogue 1991, Palmer Tube Mills, Australia.

Rose, J (1988) Ginetta The Illustrated History, Haynes Publications Inc., California.

Setright, LJK (1968) The Grand Prix Car 1954-1966, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London.

Setright, LJK (1976) The Designers, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London.

Sturz, W D, (1990/91) "Hell Fire", Sports Car World, Summer pp 14-21

Timishenko and Gere (1968) Elements of Strength of Materials,

Webb, G G Engineers

(1984)

"Torsional Stiffness of Passenger Cars", Proceedings of Institution of Mechanical

Westerman, A (1991) "Tyre Supertest", Motor Magazine, July

Westfield Sports Cars Ltd, Westfield SE - SEi Instruction Manual, Westfield Sports Cars Ltd

Williams, G (1991) McLaren. A Racing History, The Crowood Press Ltd, Wiltshire.

8 APPENDICES Appendix A - Westfield Sports Car Data

Motor magazine recently conducted tests of four clubman cars available and able to be licensed in Australia (September 1992). The following information about the Westfield Sports Car is sourced from tests conducted by Motor.

Kits sold in Australia

Suspension

60

Cars registered in Australia

14

Engine

Front, longitudinally mounted 1.6L, 88kW (Toyota Corolla) front - independent double wishbones

Tyres

rear - double wishbones or live axle Yokohama A-008R, 205/60 R13 85H

Wheelbase

2270mm

Front Track

1310mm

Rear Track

1330mm

Overall Length

3515mm

Overall Width

1580mm

Height

1040mm

Ground Clearance

105mm

Page 61

Kerb Weight

580kg

Weight/Power

6.6 kg/kW

Acceleration

0 - 100m

6.53s

Standing 400m

14.85s

Member Properties of Westfield Sports Car Chassis Tubemakers B.T.M. Square Hollow Sections

Section

Size mm

Wall

Area

kg/m

Ixx mm 4

J

mm 4

Thickness

mm²

 

mm

2020

20

1.6

111

0.873

6080

10300

2525

25

1.6

143

1.12

12800

21200

 

Page 62

 

Appendix B - Westfield Sports Car Chassis Drawing

Appendix B - Westfield Sports Car Chassis Drawing Page 63

Page 63

Appendix C - Computer Model Data File (diagrams showing nodes and elements at end of data file listing)

C

C

Standard Chassis

C

Generally units are in Newtons, N and metres, m

CONTROL

CONTROL.END

C

C

BEAMS

MATERIAL=1

C (NOTE THAT SECTION.NUM IS THAT REFERRED TO BY PROPERTY NO. IN ELEMENTS MODULE)

SECTI

1 12.8E-9 12.8E-9 21.2E-9 143E-6 .9 .9 816E-9 816E-9 C BOTTOM

PLANE

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

IYY

IZZ

TORSION

AREA

KY KZ

ZY

ZZ

 

2

6.08E-9

6.08E-9

10.3E-9

111E-6

.9

.9

608E-9

608E-9

C

CENTRE

TUNNEL

 
 

3

12.8E-9

12.8E-9

21.2E-9

143E-6 .9

.9

816E-9

816E-9

C

TOP PLANE

4

5.36E-9

5.36E-9

10.7E-9

103E-6 .9

.9

487E-9

487E-9

C

5

6.08E-9

6.08E-9

10.3E-9

111E-6 .9

.9

608E-9

608E-9

C

6

5.36E-9

5.36E-9

10.7E-9

103E-6 .9

.9

487E-9

487E-9

C

7

6.08E-9

6.08E-9

10.3E-9

111E-6

.9

.9

608E-9

608E-9

C SUSP'N

MEMBERS

 
 

8

12.8E-9

12.8E-9

21.2E-9

143E-6 .9

.9

816E-9

816E-9

C

UPRIGHTS

9

16.1E-9

16.1E-9

1.0E-9

111E-6 .9

.9

800E-9

800E-9

C

BRACKETS

10

16E-9

810E-9

20E-9

492E-6 .3

.7

100E-9

12.1E-6

C

FLOORPANS

C

C

MATERIAL

 

MATE.NUM

E

NU

RO

 

1 200E9

0.3

7850

C

C

C

*** THE NODES MODULE IS PRINTED

C

*** USING GLOBAL CARTESIAN AXES

C

NODES

NODE

X

Y

Z

C

C

NODES ON PERIMETER OF BOTTOM PLANE

C

1

0

0.000

0.000

3

0.000

-.123

0.000

4

0.000

-.145

0.000

5

.196

-.182

0.000

6

.257

-.199

0.000

7

.341

-.224

0.000

8

.499

-.272

0.000

9

.585

-.297

0.000

10

.962

-.411

0.000

12

1.553

-.517

0.000

13

2.307

-.517

0.000

14

2.293

-.517

0.000

16

2.930

-.442

.127

17

2.930

-.126

.127

Page 64

 

18

2.930

0.000

.127

19

2.930

-.456

.127

20