This paper provides a premise and the motivation for making a case for lightweight vehicle body structures, with embedded functionality, using actively controlled materials. Such active materials have the ability to change the structural properties in the event of varying conditions, including dynamic loading and vibrations, with the extreme scenario being that of a collision. Prompted by ever stringent legislation concerning crashworthiness and CO2 emissions, coupled with the fact that all new vehicles in the future will be fully equipped with advanced driver-assisted systems, including on-board active safety systems, the paper proposes a strategy for actively controlling the energy absorption of the vehicle body structure. The concept of an active buckling control approach, while still in its early development stage, is described. Encouraging results have been obtained via simulation, and the potential control approach for specifying a buckling load, related to the smallest positive buckling eigenvalue, hence onset of energy absorption, is discussed. It is conjectured that an active buckling control approach may become part of future legislation for testing vehicle body structures, where the issues of compatibility and reduced aggressivity are deemed to become compulsory.
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- active material
- buckling controls
- buckling loads
- CO2 emissions
- light weight vehicles
- advanced vehicle control systems