University facility to help optimise hybrid structures for the automotive sector

Credit: Shutterstock / Levent Konuk

The University of Leicester’s Advanced Structural Dynamics Evaluation Centre (ASDEC) has made a successful bid for a share of £1.4million R&D funding from Innovate UK. The centre will work in a team with other companies to optimise hybrid structures for the automotive sector.

With low emissions and increased efficiency driving future automotive development, manufacturers are increasingly relying on using multi material (hybrid) structures to offer a cost-effective weight reduction. This will improve vehicle efficiency and reduce the amount of raw materials used in production.

The Hybrid Automotive Lightweight Optimisation (HALO) project will look into optimising this multi material approach to maximise the potential of each material and component within the structure of the vehicle.

There is still a disconnect between computer modelling and actual construction; HALO aims to close that gap by analysing results from the real world and correlating them back into the virtual.

Tim Stubbs, ASDEC general manager, said: “HALO is exactly the kind of project for which ASDEC was established, working at the cutting edge of automotive materials testing and analysis. Our unique set up of Robotised LDV and the ability to provide in-depth analysis of results will give the HALO team unparalleled insight into new hybrid structures and their performance to make them ready for real world applications”.

Professor Sarah Hainsworth, director of ASDEC, added: “I am delighted to be working on this new collaboration with industry in the composites area. 3D laser Doppler vibrometry is a non-contact technique which is particularly important for measuring composites where the additional mass from more traditional techniques such as transducers would fundamentally change the vibration of these lightweight structures. Light weighting is such an important technology for cars where savings of even a 100g of mass in a car can save tonnes of CO2 emissions when the number of cars in a fleet is considered”.

The HALO project team comprises five companies who will work together to deliver optimum results for future lightweight automotive materials: Jaguar Land Rover, FAR-UK, TWI, HPL Prototypes and ASDEC. HALO is part of a £38 million fund from the UK government through Innovate UK to help develop ideas and technology for cutting vehicle emissions and helping electric cars drive further.