An Exploration of Jute-Polyester Composite for Vehicle Head Impact Safety Countermeasures

Paper #:
  • 2018-01-0844

  • 2018-04-03
Natural fiber-reinforced composites are currently gaining increasing attention as potential substitutes to pervasive synthetic fiber-reinforced composites, particularly glass fiber-reinforced plastics (GFRP). The advantages of the former category of composites include: (a) being conducive to occupational health and safety during fabrication of parts as well as handling as compared to GFRP, and (b) economy especially when compared to carbon fiber-reinforced composites (CFRC). Natural fibers are biodegradable and can therefore be disposed of more easily than glass and carbon fibers. In order to be a serious contender for synthetic fibers, it is imperative that natural fibers should have a reliable and substantive supply base. It is in this context that woven jute fabric which is produced consistently can be a viable natural fiber-based reinforcement for composites targeting design applications such as automotive interior trim and instrument panel. It may be noted that aesthetic appeal can be an additional factor in favor of jute fiber-reinforced composites (JFRC). Anticipating the potential of JFRC for automotive body parts and trim, the structural aspects of JFRC, crucially under quasi-static and impact loading, have been studied recently mainly through physical tests performed ([1]-[5]). The current study makes an important stride by demonstrating the effectiveness of advanced CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) tools for predicting the mechanical behavior of jute fiber-reinforced plastics (JFRP). Following a methodical approach, coupon tests are initially carried out in a UTM (Universal Testing Machine) under tensile, compressive and shearing conditions. The results for these tests aid in the formulation of finite element-based CAE models of the coupon tests mentioned. As many real-world problems involve bending loads, 3-point bending tests have been performed and the load-displacement responses are utilized for verifying the effectiveness of corresponding CAE predictions obtained through an explicit nonlinear FEA (Finite Element Analysis) solver, namely LS-DYNA. The developed finite element modeling methodology is next applied to the study of upper interior head impact safety of a representative A-pillar component covered with JFRP-based trim. A validated CAE model of a featureless Hybrid 3 headform is used for assessment of head impact safety by computing HIC(d) (i.e. Head Injury Criterion – dummy). As the performance of only JFRP trim did not appear to be adequate, a novel countermeasure, based on cast JFRP and attached to the interior surface of an A-pillar trim is considered. This latter countermeasure yields favorable results by reducing HIC(d) to within the safety threshold of 1000, thereby demonstrating the significant potential of JFRP as a structural energy-absorbing material for vehicle upper interior trim. References: 1. Deb, A., Das S., Mache A., Laishram R., “A Study on the Mechanical Behaviors of Jute-Polyester Composites”, Procedia Engineering, Volume 173, 2017, Pages 631-638. 2. Mittal, A., Deb, A., and Chou, C., "A Study into the Mechanical Behavior of Adhesively-Bonded Jute Fiber-Reinforced Composite," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 8(2):2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-0729. 3. Mache, A., Deb, A., and Chou, C., "Effect of Strain Rate on Mechanical Responses of Jute-Polyester Composites," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1467, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-1467. 4. Ashok Mache, Anindya Deb, “A Study on Impact Perforation Resistance of Jute - Polyester Composite Laminates”, SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-1055, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-1055. 5. A. Mache, A. Deb. “A Comparative Study on the Axial Impact Performance of Jute and Glass Fiber-Based Composite Tubes”, SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-1178, April 16-18 2013, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
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