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# The influence of material properties on

Joris Geurts
MT05.04

## Eindhoven, September 8th 2004

Eindhoven, 22.12.04
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The influence of material properties on the behavior of a crushing column

Contents
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................ 2
1.1 THE ROAD TO SAFETY ...................................................................................................................... 2
1.2 GOAL OF INTERNSHIP ...................................................................................................................... 2
1.3 APPROACH ...................................................................................................................................... 2
2.3 THE MADYMO STRUCTURE ........................................................................................................... 5
3 NUMERICAL MODEL ....................................................................................................................... 6
3.1 GEOMETRY ...................................................................................................................................... 6
3.2 BOUNDARY CONDITIONS ................................................................................................................. 6
3.3 EDITING........................................................................................................................................... 7
4 THE SIMULATIONS .......................................................................................................................... 8
4.1 WHOLE CRUSHING COLUMN VERSUS A QUARTER OF THE CRUSHING COLUMN ................................. 8
4.2 THE BEAD INITIATOR ....................................................................................................................... 9
4.3 ALLOYS ......................................................................................................................................... 12
4.4 INFLUENCE OF THE BEAD INITIATOR .............................................................................................. 13
5 DISCUSSION...................................................................................................................................... 15
CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................................... 16
APPENDIX A THE MODEL ELEMENT TREE ................................................................................... 17
THE XML-ELEMENTS ................................................................................................................................ 18
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................................... 19

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Introduction
Cars become safer all the time. But still a number of about 1100 people are killed and over 11000
people get injured due to traffic accidents in the Netherlands every year [1]. Nearly half of these
are car occupants. That is why it is important to create cars that are as safe as possible. Not only
by enhancing crash-prevention-techniques (such as ABS, ESP, pre-crash-sensing, etc), but also
by improving the car construction itself (crush zones, materials, etc). Every couple of years the
tests to determine the safeness of cars become stricter. Car companies are therefore obliged to
follow the tendency and keep designing constructions that enable cars to become safer.
One of these constructions is the so-called crushing column. In case of a frontal impact, which
can easily be fatal, the crushing columns will absorb a part of the energy. Due to this energy
absorption the car will decelerate less quickly, which will result in less high loads on the car
occupants, what will lead to lower injury levels.

## 1.2 Goal of internship

The goal of this internship is to get a good understanding of MADYMO and the programs related
to MADYMO. Additionally to this a study is done, to examine the ability of MADYMO to solve
finite element (FE) problems. Already known is the fact that MADYMO is being used for
multibody-problems. The multibody-models used for MADYMO can contain some finite element
parts. This means that MADYMO is able to solve FE-problems as well. But unknown is the
quality of solving a FE-problem by this program. For there are other programs, such as
MARC/MENTAT or PAM-CRASH, created especially for FE-problems, while MADYMO was
initially created to solve multibody-problems. Therefore it could be a recommendable to use such

To achieve this goal an assignment is formulated. The assignment is to create a finite element
model (FEM) of a crushing column and determine the influence of the material properties on the
behavior of the crushing column during a crash.

1.3 Approach
To get started, first there has to be a study of the MADYMO-manuals. Besides MADYMO some
other programs have to be used to create and edit the model. These programs are Altair
Hypermesh, Altair Hyperview and Morphon XMLEditor. Hypermesh is used to build the model,
i.e. the preprocessing. Hyperview shows the results using animation and graphs, the post-
processing. The model can be changed using the XMLEditor. These programs have to be studied
also. This is done by using the manuals and tutorials, as well as by studying existing models
within these programs.

Thereafter a numerical model of a crushing column is made using Hypermesh and the
XMLEditor.
In MADYMO some FEM simulations are done, each with different properties like Young’s
modulus, yield stress and others. This was done using the XMLEditor. Afterwards the results are
viewed and compared in Hyperview.
The results are also compared to those found in an earlier study, with a different program (PAM-
CRASH).

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At the end of this study the model and the results are discussed and, if the occasion arises, some

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In this chapter some aspects of the program MADYMO are described. After a short description of
the calculation method, used by MADYMO, the reason for using I-face is given. The last
paragraph contains some directives for creating a MADYMO model.

The FEM program used for this study is MADYMO 6.0.1. This program is developed at TNO to
simulate crash tests. In particular crash tests for recalling impact forces on car occupants. The
program is capable of performing calculations for multibody models, FE models and a
combination of both. An example of this is a crash dummy (multibody) in a car (of which some
parts, like an airbag, exist of finite elements).

MADYMO uses a Lagrange-description [4], which means that the nodes, and therefore the
elements, are constrained to the material, and thus move along with the material.
Besides this the program uses the so-called explicit integration method. Contrary to the implicit
method no coupled equations, which have to be solved iterative, are used. The explicit method
however leads to a number of single equations, and every step is calculated regarding the
previous step. At a given moment the displacement and the velocity are known. Regarding these
data the forces can be calculated. When the forces are known the acceleration can be calculated.
Finally the velocities and displacements of the next step can be calculated using the central
difference method. This method is not further described here. It is not allowable to use a time
step, which is too big when using this method, because the system could become unstable when
using such a time step. This however is not a problem in case of crash simulation problems,
because the overall time range is small already. For the reason that single equations are used, in
stead of a big number of coupled equations, which is the case for the implicit method, the
calculation time needed is much shorter.

MADYMO and Altair don’t use the exact same language [4]. That is why there is I-face. This
interface is used to convert MADYMO-data into Hypermesh-data, and vice versa. This way it is
are created in Hypermesh.

The files that are used by MADYMO are XML-files. XML stands for Extensible Markup
Language. It is also possible to import or export XML-files in Hypermesh. XML-files exist of
layers and these layers have to follow a prescribed structure. However, the structure of the
Hypermesh-XML differs from the MADYMO-XML. Both programs handle a different
Document Type Definition (DTD). The DTD describes what has to be the XML-structure.
such a way, that it meets the requirements of the Hypermesh DTD.
An Extensible Style sheet Language Transformation (XSLT) takes care of this conversion. This is
also the case when the conversion has to go the other way around, i.e. from Hypermesh-XML to
MADYMO-XML. The conversion process is also illustrated by the following diagram
(figure 2.1).

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## The conversion from MADYMO-XML to Hypermesh-XML happens automatically during the

importing of the file in Hypermesh.
Vice versa however the conversion has to be done manually, with the help of the program
hm2mif.exe. The exported Hypermesh-XML (*_hm.XML) has to be converted into MADYMO-
XML (*_madymo.XML) by giving the following command:

## hm2mif –i “*_hm.xml” –o “*_madymo.xml”

MADYMO-XML consists of a hierarchical data structure. This structure is made during the
XSLT step from Hypermesh to MADYMO. During this step some directives in the Hypermesh
file are regarded. Therefore it is crucial to create the right hierarchy in Hypermesh, with the help
of the “assembly” panel. The requirements of the MADYMO hierarchy are:

## - There has to be a root of the type MADYMO

- An assembly of the type SYSTEM, including the subtype REF-SPACE
- Assemblies of the type FE_MODEL have to be placed in an assembly of the type
SYSTEM
- Collectors of the type PART have to be placed in an assembly of the type FE_MODEL
- Multibodies have to be in an assembly of the type SYSTEM.

It is advisable to open the file “template.xml” in the XML-editor. This is the smallest possible
MADYMO-XML file, and contains the necessary elements. The created model can be compared
to the template file than and if needed be edited until it has the right structure.

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3 Numerical model
This chapter will describe the preprocessing of the FE model, i.e. the building of the model using
Hypermesh and XMLEditor.

3.1 Geometry
For the model a previous study about crushing columns, done by Dr. Ir. W.J. Witteman of the
TU/e, is considered [2]. In this study various column-profiles, like a rectangle, a square and a
circle perimeter, are discussed. This study shows that the rectangle-profile is advisable, regarding
the wide range of possible collisions (different angles of incidence).
The chosen measurements for the column contain a perimeter of 300 mm, containing sides of 60
and 90 mm, a length of 350 mm and a thickness of 2 mm.

## In Hypermesh a model, containing these measurements, is

created (figure 3.1). Regarding the length of the calculation time,
the model only contained a quarter of the column. In order to
become the same results as by using a whole model, symmetry-
conditions are applied. The absorbed energy of this model only
needs to be multiplied by four, after this. This is proven in
chapter 4.

The elements used for this model are the 2d shell4 elements.
This element exists of 4 nodes (quadrilateral element). Each
node has six degrees of freedom. The mass is divided equally
between the 4 nodes. The thickness of the elements, as well as
the number of integration points, can be adjusted using the
XMLEditor. The number of integration points was set to seven,
which is the maximum number, to obtain a well enough stress-
distribution along the thickness.

F
i
g
figure 3.1 Crushing column

## 3.2 Boundary conditions

Because only ¼ of the crushing column is modeled, the defining of additional boundary
conditions is necessary in order to get the same results that are contained when using a complete
model. These boundary conditions are specified using the element “SUPPORT”. In order to
simulate symmetry, all nodes along the open sides have only 3 degrees of freedom, instead of six.
The support element is also used to eliminate all degrees of freedom at the bottom (where the
column is fixed).

The body, or impactor, that causes the crushing, is given ¼ of the mass (m0 = 275 kg) of the
vehicle mass and an initial velocity of v0 = 7.00 m/s is defined. A higher initial velocity causes
the system to become unstable in some cases. The use of more elements could possibly eliminate
this problem. This however is not tested. An initial velocity that is too high also leads to a
deformation that is too great, i.e. the folds are squished.

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The contact that is made between de crushing column and the impactor also has to be defined.
This is done using the element “CONTACT.FE_FE”. This element defines contact forces
between finite elements using a force-penalty function. Within this element the master and the
slave surface, respectively the column and the impactor, have to be defined. This element
prevents elements to move through each other.

The contact between the folds also has to be created (slave and master surface are both the
column). Or else the folds are pushed into each other.

The material properties can be adjusted in the element ‘MATERIA.ISOPLA’. This element
describes the material model with an elastic and plastic behavior. The elasticity can be
determined by the Young’s modulus and the yield stress.
The plastic behavior can be calculated using a hardening curve. This curve starts at the yield
stress and matching strain. In this model hardening is not regarded and therefore no function is
defined. In this element it’s also possible to define the Poisson’s-ratio.

## The complete model is given in Appendix A, shown as an element-tree. A short description of

elements, that aren’t discussed yet, is also given there.

3.3 Editing
After building the model it has to be exported as an XML-file. Because of the difference between
Hypermesh- and MADYMO-XML, there had to be a conversion of the file, using a program
(hm2mif.exe), as discussed in chapter 2.

This file can be opened and the model can be adjusted using Morphon XMLEditor. In this way
certain parameters, like the thickness and the material properties, can be adjusted. The XML-file,
being a text-file, can also be adjusted using Notepad, or a program just like that one. Although
being less clearly, some FEM properties (like the coordinates of the nodes of the model) can be
found and adjusted in Notepad, while they aren’t traceable when using the XMLEditor. It is
probable that other XML-editors (for example XML-spy) don’t have such problems.

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4 The simulations
4.1 Whole crushing column versus a quarter of the crushing column
Various simulations are done to examine various aspects. The first simulation has to prove that
the assumption, made in chapter 3, is right Therefore the results of crushing a whole column
(figure 4.1) are compared with the results of crushing a quarter of the column (figure 4.2).

## Figure 4.2 crushing of a quarter of a column

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A whole model of the crushing column containing certain material properties and an impactor
mass is simulated. After that a quarter of the column is modeled, containing the same material
properties and a quarter of the impactor mass. Figures 4.1 and 4.2 show two phases of the
deformation process. Left is the undeformed state, while the other two images represent the
deformed state, viewed from two different angles.

The results are compared in the figure 4.3. The upper line (red, dotted) represents the whole
model and the lower line (blue) shows the absorbed energy of the quarter model.

## Figure 4.3 absorbed energy as a function of the time

It appears that the total absorbed energies are 18000 Nm and 4500 Nm, respectively, for the
whole and the quarter of the column. The red line is four times higher than the blue one at every
moment.
Proven is now that the model of a quarter of the column gives the same results as the model of the
whole column, if these are multiplied by four.
Because the calculation time is more than four times longer, when using the model of the whole
crushing column, and the results are the same, the rest of the simulations are done using the
model of a quarter of the column. These results only need to be multiplied by four now. All
results discussed hereafter are already multiplied by four.

Some problems occur after varying the material properties [7,9,10], especially the yield stress.
The material properties used, can be found in table 4.1. Not all of the columns crush in a good
way anymore. The folding doesn’t start at the upper part of the column, but somewhere in the
middle (figure 4.4).

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## Figure 4.4 folding error

Applying a weakness at the front end of the beam solves this problem. This is called an initiator;
in this case a 10% bead initiator [2]. This means a cross section reduction of 10%, at the location
of the initiator. After modeling the initiator, the folding pattern is stable again (figure 4.5). The
influence of the initiator on the totally absorbed energy is discussed in paragraph 4.4.

## Figure 4.5 folding pattern after applying a bead initiator

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## Material Density E-modulus Poisson’s-ratio Yield stress

[kg/m3] [x109 Pa] [N/mm2]
Aluminum 2700 70 0.3 45
Iron 7870 220 0.3 250
Steal 7800 200 0.3 450
Magnesium 1740 44 0.3 90
Table 4.1 material properties

The results of the simulations, of the model with the bead initiator, are displayed in figure 4.6.
The graph shows the absorbed energy as a function of the deformation length. The highest line in
this graph represents the steal column. The lowest line shows the absorbed energy by the
aluminum column.

1,80E+04

1,60E+04

1,40E+04

1,20E+04
Energy absoption [Nm]

1,00E+04 aluminium
ijzer
8,00E+03
staal
6,00E+03 magnesium

4,00E+03

2,00E+03

0,00E+00
0,00E+00 1,00E-01 2,00E-01 3,00E-01 4,00E-01
-2,00E+03
deformation [m]

## Figure 4.6 Energy absorption for different materials

The yield stress appears to be the most important factor. The material with the highest yield stress
(steel) has the highest energy absorption (15400 Nm), while the material with the lowest yield
stress (aluminum) absorbs the least energy (2950). This can easily be explained. For if the yield
stress is high, than a higher force, and thus more energy, is needed, to accomplish plastic
deformation, i.e. the creation of the folds.
Having the yield stress, given in table 4.1, the aluminum column proves to be too weak. The
column deforms too much and the folds are squished. This is also the case for the magnesium
column.

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4.3 Alloys
The use of alloys, like aluminum 7075 [11], allows the constructor to use lightweight materials,
with a low density, but with a lot higher yield stress. Aluminum 7075 is an alloy, with a yield
stress higher than 500 N/mm2, but with nearly the same density and modulus of elasticity as pure
aluminum. For steal alloys yield stresses of over 1200 N/mm2 can be achieved.

That’s why all the simulations are run again, each with the same yield stress of 500 N/mm2. Only
the density and the Young’s modulus are varied, using the properties of table 4.1.
The disadvantage of increasing the yield stress, however, is the decrease of the ductility. The
material becomes more brittle and therefore less plastic deformation can be obtained. For the next
simulations the assumption is made, that the material is still ductile enough for the folding
process.
Now it’s possible to regard the influence of the density and the Young’s-modulus. After keeping
the yield stress at this level, all goes well.
These simulations are done with and without the use of a bead initiator. When the yield stress is
high enough, the modeling of the initiator is not necessary, because al the folding processes
proceed in a neat and stable manner. But by simulating both cases, also the influence of the
initiator can be determined.

Figure 4.7 shows the results of the simulation of the four different materials, but with a constant
yield stress of 500 N/mm2. For this simulation the model with the initiator is used.

1,80E+04

1,60E+04

1,40E+04

1,20E+04
energy absorption [Nm]

1,00E+04 aluminium
ijzer
8,00E+03
staal
6,00E+03 magnesium

4,00E+03

2,00E+03

0,00E+00
0,00E+ 5,00E- 1,00E- 1,50E- 2,00E- 2,50E- 3,00E- 3,50E-
-2,00E+03 00 02 01 01 01 01 01 01
Deformation [m]

Figure 4.7 Energy absorption for different materials with constant yield stress

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Ferrous and steal almost have the same result. This was to be expected, for the density and
modulus of elasticity are nearly the same for both materials. The total energy absorption of the
ferrous column is 16500 Nm. For this case the magnesium column absorbs the least energy
(14400 Nm). This means that a lower density and a lower Young’s modulus lead to less energy
absorption. Although the density and Young’s modulus of magnesium are about 20% of those of
ferrous, the decrease of energy absorption is only about 10%. Apparently these two properties
don’t influence the crushing behavior that much. And therefore the conclusion can be made, that
the yield stress is the most important material property.

## 4.4 Influence of the bead initiator

After the previous simulation the influence of the bead initiator can be tested. All material
properties are kept the same as those for the simulations of paragraph 4.3, but this time the model
without the initiator is used. The results are displayed in figure 4.8.

1,80E+04

1,60E+04

1,40E+04

1,20E+04
Energy absorption [Nm]

1,00E+04 aluminium
ijzer
8,00E+03
staal
6,00E+03 magnesium

4,00E+03

2,00E+03

0,00E+00
0,00E+ 5,00E- 1,00E- 1,50E- 2,00E- 2,50E- 3,00E- 3,50E-
-2,00E+03 00 02 01 01 01 01 01 01
Deformation [m]

Figure 4.8 Energy absorption, without initiator, for different materials with constant yield stress

The results resemble those of the previous paragraph. The highest amount of energy absorbed is
16800 Nm (2% higher), while the lowest is still 14400 Nm. To have a better look at the influence
of the initiator, figures 4.7 and 4.8 are combined to one graph, figure 4.9. To keep it clear only the
energy absorption of the iron and the magnesium column, with and without initiator, are
displayed.

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1,80E+04

1,60E+04

1,40E+04

1,20E+04
Energy absorption [Nm]

8,00E+03

4,00E+03

2,00E+03

0,00E+00
0,00E+0 5,00E-02 1,00E-01 1,50E-01 2,00E-01 2,50E-01 3,00E-01 3,50E-01
-2,00E+03 0
Deform ation [m ]

## Figure 4.9 The influence of the bead initiator.

Apparently, the influence of the initiator is higher, when the density and Young’s modulus are
higher. The initiator decreases the force needed for creating the first fold, and therefore less
energy is absorbed. The higher the energy needed for starting the folding process, the higher is
the decrease of necessary energy when using an initiator.
The absorbed energy, for the iron column, is slightly lower at every moment, but the deformation
is a little more. That’s why the total amount of absorbed energy doesn’t differ that much.

The magnesium column without bead only absorbs a little more energy during the first fold. After
that it doesn’t matter if an initiator is used, or not.

The use of the initiator leads to a slightly better folding pattern for the aluminum column. But in
case of the magnesium column, the visualization in Hyperview shows a small vibration in the
column, when using the initiator. This doesn’t affect the amount of energy absorption, though.

Overall the use of an initiator is preferred. The decrease of absorbed energy can be neglected and
it leads to a better folding pattern in most cases.

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5 Discussion
When comparing the model and the results to earlier studies, by W.J. Witteman [2], it appears
that the results are of the same range. Witteman found the energy absorption of about 17500 Nm,
at a deformation of 250 mm, for a steal column.
In this study the result for the steal column is the energy absorption of 15400 Nm, at a
deformation of 280 mm.

The difference can be explained by the use of slightly different material properties. Also small
model errors can cause other calculation results.

The model can’t handle initial velocities of the mass, which are higher than 8.00 m/s. This could
be solved, using smaller elements. This isn’t sure, though.
Also adding a hardening function could improve the model.

The calculation time still seems to be very high. The model isn’t that complex and the amount of
elements isn’t that great. Still the calculation of the quarter model takes about an hour and a half.
The calculation of the whole model takes over six hours.
Editing the model slightly can also increase the calculation time drastically. For instance adding
the contact properties for the folds results in nearly a doubling of the calculation time.
It is assumed that the use of other FEM-programs doesn’t cause such problems, but this is not
tested in this study.

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Conclusion
In the case of a frontal impact a crushing column can absorb a part of the energy. The amount of
absorbed energy depends on the material properties. The main material property that influences
this process is the yield stress. A higher yield stress results in a higher absorption of energy.
Therefore it is advised to use alloys when constructing a crushing column.
The use of an initiator is also preferred. This will lead to a better folding pattern, without
decreasing the energy absorption drastically.

It is not obligatory to model the whole crushing column. Modeling only a quarter of the column,
using symmetry conditions, will result in the same results, if these are multiplied by four. The
calculation time becomes more than four times shorter.

The model still needs to be improved in order to handle initial velocities that are higher than 8.00
m/s, without becoming unstable.

MADYMO seems slow, when handling FE models. Therefore the advice is given to use this
program for multibody problems or for combined multibody/FEM problems only. For pure FEM
problems it seems better to use other programs, especially created for FEM problems.

It is also preferable to use a different XML-editor. For the Morphon XMLEditor used here seems
to have bugs. It doesn’t display all the data, that’s in the XML file. The nodes and element
locations can only be viewed and edited in the text file.

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## Appendix A the model element tree

Here is given the layout of the model as it is displayed in the XML-editor. The model contains
different layers, meaning that some elements belong inside another element. Each layer is given
another color, to create a convenient arrangement. All elements are placed inside the root
element MADYMO. There are two SYSTEM.MODELs. The first one represents the column,
while the second one represents the impactor.

- TYPEDEFS - CONTACT.FE_FE
- INCLUDE - CONTACT_FORCE.PENALTY
- RUNID - SYSTEM.MODEL
- CONTROL_ALLOCATION - BODY.RIGID
- CONTROL_ANALYSIS.TIME - JOINT.TRAN
- CONTROL_OUTPUT - CRDSYS_OBJECT_1
- TIME_HISTORY_CONTACT - CRDSYS_OBJECT_2
- TIME_HISTORY_ENERGY - ORIENTATION.SUCCESSIVE_RO
- TIME_HISTORY_FE T
- TIME_HISTORY_FE - INITIAL.JOINT_VEL
- TIME_HISTORY_MB - FE_MODEL
- SYSTEM.REF_SPACE - CONTROL_FE_MODEL
- SURFACE.PLANE - CONTROL_FE_TIME_STEP
- SYSTEM.MODEL - PART
- BODY.RIGID - PROPERTY.SHELL4
- JOINT.BRAC - MATERIAL.NULL
- CRDSYS_OBJECT_1 - SUPPORT
- CRDSYS_OBJECT_2 - TABLE
- FE_MODEL - TABLE
- CONTROL_FE_MODEL - OUTPUT_NODE
- CONTROL_FE_TIME_STEP - SELECT.VEL
- MATERIAL.ISOPLA - SELECT.ACC
- PROPERTY.SHELL4 - GROUP_FE
- PART - CONTACT.FE_FE
- SUPPORT - CONTACT_FORCE.PENALTY
- SUPPORT - FUNCTION.XY
- SUPPORT - TABLE
- SUPPORT - GROUP_MB
- TABLE - CONTACT.MB_FE
- TABLE - CONTACT_FORCE.CHAR
- OUTPUT_NODE - OUTPUT_ENERGY_FE_MODEL
- SELECT.DISP - OUTPUT_ENERGY_FE_MODEL
- SELECT.FORCE - OUTPUT_CONTACT
- GROUP_FE - OUTPUT_JOINT_CONSTRAINT
- FUNCTION.XY

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The XML-elements
A short description of most of the elements used for this model, as shown in the element tree, is
given here. Only the elements that aren’t discussed earlier are mentioned.

TYPEDEFS contains the definition of possible elements and the structure (the DTD directives).
RUNID can be used to insert text like simulation identification, and others.
CONTROL_ALLOCATION gives the opportunity to influence the calculation parameters.
CONTROL_ANALYSIS.TIME is used to define time and time steps.
CONTROL_OUTPUT contains the elements that create the asked output.
SYTEM.REF_SPACE is in this case the ground plate.
SYSTEM.MODEL contains all elements that belong to one system (column or impactor).
BODY.RIGID prescribes inertia-data of the system.
JOINT.BRAC defines the joints, which are used for contacts, etc.
FE_MODEL contains all elements describing the FE model.
CONTROL_FE_MODEL and CONTROL_FE_TIME_STEP are used to define some simulation
parameters like time step.
TABLE can contain all kinds off tables, like functions, but also the coordinates of the nodes and
elements.
OUTPUT_NODE is used to define the different types of output, like displacement and forces.
FUNCTION.XY defines a given function, like the force penalty function used for contacts.
OUTPUT_ENERGY_FE_MODEL gives the desired absorbed energy of the system.

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References

29171.jsp

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