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Calculation of Optimal Damping Placement in a Vehicle Interior

Craig Birkett Daimler Trucks North America, LLC 4747 N Channel Ave Portland, OR 97217 Poh-Soong Tang Dieter Featherman Altair Engineering, Inc 1820 E Big Beaver Road Troy, MI 48083

Originally published at the 2010 Noise-Con in Baltimore, Maryland, US copyright Altair Engineering, Inc. 2012

1.0 Introduction
One of the most difficult jobs of a NVH Analyst is to sift through a seemingly endless set of results and find the key conclusions that will improve a design. Different assumptions and different subsets of data can give very different conclusions. This paper compares acoustic results calculated for a Class 8 heavy duty truck cab to choose an optimal configuration of damping material. The design was evaluated for structure and air-borne inputs, but only structure-borne inputs are considered in this paper. Complementary tools were applied to the problem of determining damping material layout. Candidate locations for damping material were identified by summing A-weighted velocities over the frequency range of interest. This method had the advantage of giving a single result that pictorially shows the active areas of the cabin. It also did not require the user to lump areas into discrete panels which may limit any optimization efforts by their choices. Second, an automatic optimization was performed using structural inputs to determine the optimal damping treatment from the candidate damping patches given weight constraints. This optimization method had the advantages of being much more automated and could work directly to minimize sound levels at a number of response points. Results were combined with vehicle dynamometer tests and contributed to the final noise package for the vehicle. The study was significant because it compared various practical methods of optimizing a vehicle interior. 2.0 Background 2.1 Assumptions The following limitations were applied to the optimization process. First, the phasing of the inputs and results was neglected when possible when interpreting the results. Besides having the advantage of greatly simplifying the process, it is felt that this led to a more robust design. Many papers have shown that even parts with tightly controlled production process show a wide variation in acoustic response from vehicle to vehicle and from test to test.1,2 This result suggests that vibrations should be combined in an RMS sum, assuming that they are incoherent above a boom frequencies. Although a single vehicle may not fit this assumption, an ensemble of vehicles does above some cut-off frequency. In the automated optimization process, phase information in inherently considered. Final conclusions can be adjusted in the end by considering the sensitivity information or from looking at results from an aggregate of several optimization studies. Following in this line of thinking, a generic input was developed to represent a vibration envelope, developed from Wide Open Throttle Run-Ups (WOT). This input spectrum is shown in Figure 1 for the drivers side front cab mount. This was created by applying a Fourier Transform to an entire 20 second WOT. The resulting curve was further smoothed to eliminate sharp frequency peaks as shown in Fig 1.

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The baseline cab was modeled with minimal damping materials added, but using material damping of assemblies measured in previous SEA studies.3 The authors felt this gave a more realistic model of the untreated cab and helped add realism to the structural impact of damping materials. Of course, these calculations represent only part of the noise entering the vehicle. Any design recommendations must also consider effects of higher frequency structural vibrations, absorption effects, and air-borne paths through panels, gaps in insulation and seals. Effects on sound quality must also be kept in mind and are beyond the scope of this paper. 2.2 Optimization Background Numerical optimization of coupled structural acoustic problems has many challenges. One of the main limitations was the required computation times for real engineering applications was expensive. This is because acoustic performance of complex structures is typical calculated using finite element (FE) analysis software, and the coupled structural acoustic FE analysis is based on frequency response analysis that span over a range of frequencies. As a result, the coupled structural acoustic FE analysis itself requires intensive computation. Since the acoustic performance is normally evaluated over a range of frequencies, the optimization has to be performed over a range of frequencies as well instead of a scalar objective function. This coupled with the iterative nature of numerical optimization made the FE analysis based structural acoustic optimization slow when compared to the design cycle. In recent years, many techniques in model reduction and eigensolver, were developed for structural acoustic analysis. For example, using Component Mode Synthesis (CMS) for fluid structure external super elements reduced structural acoustic analysis computation time.4 Also AMLS (Automatic Multi-Level Sub-structuring) algorithm used in eigenvalue analysis greatly reduced this part of the solution time. These factors combined with improved structure optimization algorithms made a full fledged acoustic optimization feasible within the design process. 3.0 Automatic Optimization 3.1 Optimization Methodology In this paper, an acoustic optimization was carried out for a Class 8 heavy duty truck cab (Figure 2) Using the commercial optimization software package, OptiStruct. The truck cab model consisted of 560,000 structural elements and 273,000 acoustic elements. A structureborne Wide Open Throttle (WOT) spectrum was used as enforced acceleration input at the cab mounts and a coupled structural acoustic modal frequency response analysis was performed. The objective of the acoustic optimization was to obtain an optimum damping material placements that provided maximum acoustic improvement to the truck cab. The acoustic pressure at drivers ear location, which was obtained from the coupled structural acoustic finite element analysis, was used to quantify the acoustic improvement. A-weighting filter was applied to the acoustic pressure result before it was used in the optimization. The Aweighting filter reduced the acoustic pressure at low frequencies, which corresponded approximately to how humans perceive sound. Such characteristic was also desired in acoustic optimization, as noisy low frequencies would derail the optimization if left untreated.

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To find the optimum damping material placement, a set of 44 pre-defined panels were considered (see Figure 3). In this case, the word panel refers to a structural model of the damping material. The gauges of these panels were used as design variables in this optimization. The optimum damping material configuration was achieved by allowing the gauges of these panel to vary within a set of discrete thicknesses of .01 to 2 mm. If the gauge of certain panels reached the minimum limit during the optimization, it was considered that no damping material was required for those panels. On the other hand, the optimization would find the right gauges for panels which required damping material. 3.2 Observations of Optimization Problem One of the difficulties encountered was that there was only a modest difference in interior sound level was predicted when comparing the untreated cab with a fully treated version. See figure 4. In this case the untreated cab had some natural damping due to plastic components, carpet, fasteners, sealant etc. The model also kept mastic panels where it was required for other nonacoustic reasons such as the outer door skin. The maximum damped cab had thick damping on every candidate panel and would never be used in production. The acoustic optimization in this paper was defined to minimize the maximum acoustic pressure of drivers ear given a limited damping material weight. The minimize maximum responses feature served as a function to lower the overall magnitude of acoustic pressure curve over an interested frequency range. From figure 4 it is apparent that there were a number of peaks which at various points in the optimization process could become dominant. This resulted in an erratic objective function and could lead to many local minimum in the optimization process. 3.3 Optimization Results The acoustic optimization problem was defined as minimize the maximum acoustic pressure at drivers ear location subjected to damping material weight constraint. Different weight limits were tried to investigate different trends and options of damping material placement. The following section shows the results of 2 different optimization runs, one with 5 kg of damping material added and one with 10 kg of material added. Figures 5 and 6 show these results. The most noticeable thing from these two results were that the damping locations changed dramatically when the mass constraint was changed from 5 kg to 10 kg. This illustrates the user can find many local minimum in a damping optimization and not achieve a clear direction. This feature was also apparent when reviewing the sensitivity information. Since panel sensitivities varied with each frequency and at different steps in the optimization, they did not clearly show a direction to take. The results can be expanded by adding additional operating conditions (such as highway cruise with dominant road inputs) and to additional response points (passenger, bunk sleeper) which only gives further variations in optimal damping treatment. The total run time for both optimizations was approximately 13 hours with 8 CPUs on Linux clusters.

4.0 Velocity Sums

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4.1 Methodology A more manual method to optimized damping material placement was also attempted. This was inspired partially by test methods which measure surface velocities on a cab make conclusions based on the active panels of the cab. Velocities are combined over all frequencies so that a single plot can show the overall hot-spots of the panels. This was found to give an excellent graphical tool for discussing with designers what can be done to add damping to the cab. Then the best candidate damping solutions could be evaluated with coupled structural acoustic analyses. At each node a plate element we have

Take the dot product with the element normal vector, n, to get

Then calculate the magnitude

So now we have the peak velocity of the element at frequency fi. calling it V e (fi) for simplicity. If the inputs to the FEA simulation are rms accelerations or velocities, then the resulting surface velocities will also be rms quantities. We want to sum the velocities over all frequencies to get a single rms velocity at each element. For this study the sums were done over the entire frequency band and then also in 1/3 octave sums for more insight as to the problem frequencies. In the process of doing the sums, A-weighting factors were applied to ensure the lower frequency velocities did not dominate the higher frequency velocities. Sensitivity weighting factors might also be included at this point. Finally we convert the rms velocity at each element to a dB scale by using

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4.2 Velocity Sum Results Ideally, this process would be applied before the automated optimization process, since it can help in selecting the candidate panels for damping. However, in this case the velocity sum work was completed after the optimization runs. As stated in the introduction, these calculations were made on a cab with a minimum of damping material, so that areas that require damping material are apparent. Figure 7 shows the velocity sums from one simulation. It was found that the areas which needed damping generally agreed between the two methods. The areas selected for damping by the automated process tended to have high values in the velocity sum plot, but there was not a one to one correspondence. Of course, the velocity sum plots as shown here neglected phase information and acoustic sensitivity to the occupants ears. So it would not be expected to yield the same results. Velocities were also measured on an operating cab using laser vibrometry. But again a one-to one comparison was difficult. The same input conditions were not used and it was not practical to even obtain the same cab design for the measurements. Also access to some panels such as the floor was difficult and added limitations. For these reasons a comparison between the test and the simulation was not practical. 5.0 Conclusions Two processes were described that provided a practical approach to optimizing damping locations in a truck cab or automotive vehicle. The objective function of the maximum SPL peaks due to structure-borne noise was found to be erratic and easily subject to finding local minimums. Comparision of the simulation results with various constraints for damping material demonstrated this feature. When using an automated optimization routine it is best to run the simulation numerous times to look for a robust solution and explore different local minimums. The velocity sum method showed promise to provide additional understanding of the cab vibration environment and to help in selecting local choices in candidate damping panels. It was also found to be an excellent tool to use for discussions of the overall noise treatment plan. Conclusions from this method were similar to those made from multiple optimization simulations. The approach outlined of evaluating the interior acoustics for a range of conditions in this case an entire engine run-up was found to be an effective tool for making decisions of the acoustic treatment of the vehicle.

6.0 Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Phil Murray and Alex Gorodisher of Daimler Trucks, N.A. LLC for providing measurements of the input vibration spectrum from the WOT Run-up. We also would like to thank Bineka Kristanto of Altair for his contribution in programming the velocity sum calculations.

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7.0 References 1. Vehicle-to-Vehicle NVH Performance Variance, Robert M. Shaver, Kuang-Jen J. Liu and Michael G. Hardy, Chrysler, LLC. 2. Kompella, M., and Bernhard, R., Measurement of the Statistical Variation of Structural-Acoustic, Characteristics of Automotive Vehicles, SAE 931272, 1993. 3. Arnaud Charpentier, Craig Birkett, Manuel Sanchez and Vivian Dias, Modeling Airborne Noise Transmission in a Truck Using Statistical Energy Analysis, SAE Noise and Vibration Conference, 2007. 4. OptiStruct V10.0 On-line Manual, Altair Engineering, 2009.

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Fig. 1 Wide Open Throttle Envelope - Chassis-Side Vibration at Driver's Front Cab Mount

Fig. 2 Cab FEA Model, Some Panels Removed

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Fig. 3 Panels Selected for Optimization Process

Fig 4 Comparison of Untreated and Maximum Treatment Predictions Approximately 2 dB difference in structure-borne noise over the frequency range

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Fig 5. Damping Results for 5kg Study, Red = Thickest Damping, Blue = Thinnest

Fig 6. Damping Results for 10 kg Study, Red = Thickest Damping, Blue=Thin, Grey= None

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Fig 7. RMS Velocity Sums for WOT Envelope Inputs, dBA Scale

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