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Application of a Nanoclay-Polypropylene Composite to Efficient Vehicle Occupant Safety Countermeasure Design

A. Deb, G.S. Venkatesh, A.G. Karmarkar, B. Gurumoorthy
Indian Institute of Science, IN

Keywords: nanoclay, polypropylene, vehicle interior, head impact safety countermeasure, a-pillar trim, finite element analysis

Abstract:

Polypropylene (PP) which is a thermoplastic polymer is extensively used in various shades and textures for designing interior trim of vehicles for covering metallic body bestowing an aesthetic and pleasing look as well as providing thermal comfort to occupants. It may be less obvious that PP-based trim panels on stiff upper body components such as A-pillars, B-pillars, headers, etc., when properly designed, can act as crucial head impact safety countermeasures during accidents caused by collisions and roll-overs. It has been recently observed by the authors that addition of nanoclay (Crysnano 1010) to PP substantially enhances mechanical properties such as elastic modulus and strength of the latter. The current investigation is aimed at establishing that such gain in material behavior translates into superior performance of A-pillar trim panels under headform impact safety test conditions. To this end, advanced computer-aided engineering procedures based on explicit finite element analysis with a validated Hybrid III headform model are employed in evaluating the HIC (Head Injury Criterion) performance of nanoclay-PP-based A-pillar trim panels with integrally molded fin-type ribs attached to a representative steel A-pillar component. The relevant mechanical properties required as input for capturing the visco-plastic behavior of nanoclay-PP are obtained through in-house testing of specimens made of the said material.
 
 
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