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2009-01-1232

A Study on the Optimal Design of Automobile Interior


Plastic Parts (A-Pillar Trim) Considering
Heat-Resistant and Mechanical Characteristics

Hyunjun Kim, Hoon Cho , Youngtak Son and Myungwon Suh


Sungkyunkwan University

Seungsoo Ryu, Haeryong Kim and Hunsoo Kim


HYUNDAI·KIA MOTORS

Copyright © 2009 SAE International

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION

Interior parts that are composed of plastic usually Most automobile interior parts consist of plastic
deform under various temperature conditions. It is components. These components must satisfy several
necessary to obtain the material properties for an criteria, including the thermal-cycle resistance, vibration
analysis of the thermal deformation under the heat cycle resistance, and impact resistance. The automobile
test. Specifically, creep data of plastic material was industry is working to reduce the thermal deformation
introduced for studying the time-dependent that occurs through periodical, seasonal changes. Of
deformational behavior of the pillar trim in the heat cycle late, these efforts have culminated in a plan to reduce
test. The time-hardening version of the power-law creep thermal deformation and increase the marketability of
model was applied to account for the permanent product in overseas markets.
deformation following the heat cycle test, which was
verified through a comparison of the test results with the To predict the thermal deformation, it is customary to
result of finite-element analysis for a simple model. In perform an experiment by using a test vehicle and to
this study, a methodology was developed for the optimal conduct simulation by running a finite-element analysis
design of the A-pillar trim in terms of the positions of the program on a computer. Nowadays, the movement of
mounts. The analyzed results were used to approximate vehicle components under constraints can be predicted
a function that was constructed by the response-surface by the rapid development of computing power and the
method. Design procedures were repeated to minimize continuing advances in the methodology for analysis.
the thermal deformation at the areas of interest. We also Also, studies of plastic deformation are underway in a
developed a methodology for designing the rib pattern of variety of ways. Choi[1] derived the residual stress
A-pillar trims. Nonlinear finite element analysis has been through the injection-molding analysis of a plastic
implemented and integrated with a method of sensitivity fender, and elaborated the means of predicting the
analysis for minimizing the thermal deformation at the thermal deformation by the assembly of the product that
areas of interest. is undergoing the stress. Using two-dimensional,
triangular elements, Yang[2] studied the strain,

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development of thermal stress, and deformation, which


arise from the cooling of an injection-molded product
within the mold.

By using three-dimensional, tetrahedral elements,


Park[3] conducted an analysis of the residual stress and
strain of injection-molded product. These studies had
limitations with regard to the prediction of the movement
of material[4], such as plastic, which experiences large
variations in the mechanical properties with the
temperature. The reasons for the limitations are that Figure 1 Conditions of the heat cycle test
these studies involve analytical methods that predict the
residual stress in injection-molded product and that the FUNDAMENTAL EXPERIMENT AND CREEP
theoretical approach for analyzing the thermal strain is MODEL
based on a mathematical model about material
movement.[5] The front-pillar trim, which is the relevant component
in this study, is Polypropylene with 20% talc. The heat-
In this study, we acquired data on material properties resistant properties are manifested during the heat cycle
by performing a tensile test and a creep test, and by test. For developing an analytical method that
measuring the coefficient of linear expansion. Using corresponds to Figure 1, the heat cycle and material
these data on material properties, we defined the properties that are appropriate to each range of
process of analysis for predicting the thermal strain. temperature are needed. For acquiring such data in this
Through this process, in this study, we suggest a study, we divided the overall region into a transient
method of optimizing the reduction in the thermal strain. region and a steady-state region and then acquired data
on properties. In other words, for acquiring the elastic
HEAT CYCLE TEST and plastic properties, both the tensile test and the
measurement of the coefficient of linear expansion are
The following heat-cycle gives us the conditions of executed in the transient region. For acquiring creep
the experiment and sequentially describes the heat- data of the steady-state region, a winding creep test was
resistance test, the cold-resistance test, and the wet- performed.
resistance test.
The tensile test was performed by using the
Each procedure is as follows. specimen, ASTM D638 NO.1. Both Figure 2 and Table 1
explain the main properties that are to be acquired
through the tensile test. Since the main loading condition
1. In the heat-resistance test, the temperature of the of the experiment that is relevant to the heat cycle test is
atmosphere in the chamber rises up to 80℃ from the temperature, the coefficient of linear expansion,
23℃. After we maintain the high temperature by which explains the variation of the length per unit length
using a light bulb or a lamp, we take down the owing to the temperature, is measured and expressed as
temperature to 23℃. in Figure 3. Finally, the winding creep test is performed
2. The cold-resistance test starts at the normal for acquiring data on properties of the steady-state
temperature of 23℃ and rises back to the normal region. In line with ASTM D2990, the winding creep test
temperature after descending to -40℃. is performed with respect to three loads under diverse
3. In the wet-resistance test, the temperature is 50℃ temperatures (23℃, 50℃, 90℃, and 100℃).
and the relative humidity is 90%. After maintaining
such conditions, we let the temperature of the
chamber come back to the normal temperature. Figure 4 describes the experimental equipment for
the winding creep test. Figure 5 describes the result for a
temperature of 100℃.
The test for ascertaining the properties of the heat
cycle mentioned in section 1 involves three iterations of
the heat cycle, as shown in Figure 1. We can evaluate CREEP MODEL
compatibility by applying the criteria of generated
displacement. In this study, for applying the winding creep data that
are acquired as reported in subsection, the behavior of
creep is mathematically expressed by using the time-
hardening version of the power-law creep that is
appropriate to the static load condition.

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ε creep = Aσ n t m (1)

In Eq. (1), ε creep is the creep strain rate, σ is


suitability variation stress and t is the time

Table 1 Mechanical properties of the specimen


Tensile Yield υ
Temperature strength strength E (GPa) (Poisson’ s
(MPa) (MPa) ratio)
-40℃ 52.4 43.8 7.060 0.34
50℃ 26.9 15.5 2.174 0.47
90℃ 19.2 11.4 1.413 0.52
100℃ 15.9 9.8 1.216 0.54

Figure 4 Apparatus for the flexural creep test of


plastic material

Figure 5 Results of the creep test under a


temperature of 100℃

In Eq. (1), the coefficients to be obtained, namely, A,


Figure 2 Equipment for the tensile test
n, and m, are derived from the nonlinear curve that fits
the experimental data of the creep test. These
coefficient values have to meet the following conditions:
both A and n must be positive numbers and m must be a
real number between -1 and 0. Table 2 shown material
properties for heat-transfer analysis.

ANALYSIS OF THE THERMAL DISPLACEMENT

In this section, as a prerequisite for developing a


process for reducing the thermal displacement, we
analyze the thermal displacement for the front-pillar trim
and examine the appropriateness of the process of
analysis through a comparison with the experimental
Figure 3 Thermal expansion curve of the specimen results of the real car.

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FINITE ELEMENT MODEL FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS

The model for analysis is a front-pillar trim that is Figure 8 depicts a flowchart that roughly expresses
composed of 30 ribs and 3 mounts. The mesh of the FE the process of analysis of the thermal displacement. The
model is generated by using the Hypermesh[6]. Figure 6 process of analysis is segmented into heat-transfer
shows the FE model that is generated. The number of analysis for acquiring the temperature distribution and
elements is 3,691. The number of nodes is 1,874. As heat-stress analysis for acquiring the distributions of the
expressed in the following figure (Figure 7), the displacement and the stress. In other words, we acquire
boundary conditions entail fixing: the translational motion the temperature distribution of the whole FE model and
for the three mount; the perpendicular displacement of the data that are used to analyze the heat transfer. The
the element that is in contact with the chassis; and the heat-stress analysis is completed by repeating the static
perpendicular displacement of the element that is in analysis for the transient-state of the thermal cycle and
contact with glass the creep analysis for the steady-state. Figure 9
illustrates the results of the experiment on the real car.
Figure 10 presents the result, which is obtained from FE
analysis, on the displacement of the region of interest.
There is the difference of pillar trim for displacement of
headliner from displacement of contiguity in headliner.
However, the overall form of displacement is very
similar.

Table 2 Material properties for heat-transfer analysis


conductivity specific heat density

(W/m ⋅ ℃) (J/kg ⋅ ℃) (kg/m3)


Figure 6 Finite-element model of the A-pillar trim
0.25 1,932 1,040

Figure 7 Loads and boundary conditions Figure 8 Flowchart of the procedure for analysis

The loading conditions include a thermal load for the


thermal cycle and a load for contact with the weather
strip and the headliner. The FE model is made up 3-
node shell elements. The program for analysis is
ABAQUS Version 6.5[7].

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Figure 9 Experimental result (Real Car)

Figure 11 Flowchart of the rib-pattern design


process

We can generate a model for alternating the rib


pattern by using a program that is developed on the
basis of the Hypermesh that is used in this study. Using
the results of analysis for the model that is generated as
shown in Figure 12, we decide the appropriate interval of
the rib.

Figure 10 Result of the analysis

RIB-PATTERN DESIGN CONCERNING THE


THERMAL DISPLACEMENT

For developing the methodology for reducing the


thermal displacement, based on the advice of a designer
who has had considerable experience in the design of
pillar trims, we treat the rib pattern as the design
variable. The process of designing the rib pattern is
described in Figure 11.

Figure 12 An example of rib-mesh generation (10mm)

After performing sensitivity analysis for each rib for


the displacement in the region of interest, we can
acquire a report for explaining the sensitivity of each rib,
as shown in Figure 13. After we remove those ribs that
do not affect the displacement of the region of interest,
we acquire a rib pattern that is similar to that shown in
Figure 14. For the current and new models, Table 3
describes the displacement of the region of interest and

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the maximum displacement of the overall model. design of pillar trims, we consider the design variable to
Through these results, we confirmed the suitability of the be the locations of three mounts. The factors are the
methodology for the present study. locations of mounts, as depicted in Figure 16. The levels
are described in Table 4. The objective function is the
sum of displacements, as shown in Figure 16. Moving
direction of mount is long way of pillar.

We simulate 27 models by applying a full factorial


design for 3 factors and 3 levels. Table 5 describes the
displacement that is derived from analysis.

Figure 13 Result of sensitivity analysis

Figure 15 Flowchart of a methodology for the optimal


design of the mount position

Figure 14 The final rib pattern

Table 3 Comparison of the thermal deformation


between the current and new models
Model Deformation of the Maximum
area of interest deformation
Current 1.378 5.887
New 0.957 (-30.55%) 5.592 (-5.01%)

OPTIMIZATION OF THE LOCATION OF THE Figure 16 Model for finite-element analysis


MOUNT

Figure 15 describes the process of optimization that


is suggested in this study. Based on the advice of a
designer who has had considerable experience in the

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Table 4 Factors and levels The regression function that is derived by using the
Factor Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 values in Table 5 is presented in Eq. (2). The R-squared
value of the regression function is 0.97, which means
A -20 mm -10 mm 0 mm the regression function is reliable.

B -10 mm 85 mm 180 mm Y = 11 .7804 − 0.04726 X 1 − 1.78844 X 2 + 2.572694 X 3

C -50 mm 20 mm 90 mm + 0.08895 X12 + 1.263983 X 22 + 1.374283 X 32 + 0.031592 X1 X 2


− 0.15618 X1 X 3 − 1.2764 X 2 X 3
(2)

Table 5 Full factorial table and results The variables X 1 , X 2 , X 3 that are used in the
Disp. in the
Maximum regression function are changed to the scaled values by
area of
No A B C disp.
interest
(mm)
using Eq. (3). The equation that relates A, B, C (the real
(mm) values of the translation of mounts) and X 1 , X 2 , X 3 is as
1 -20 -10 -50 5.3383 6.887 follows (Eq. (4)).
2 -20 -10 20 5.8660 9.908
⎛ 2 x i − {( x i ) upper + ( x i ) lower } ⎞
3 -20 -10 90 5.4645 14.190 Xi = ⎜ ⎟, i = 1, L ,3
⎜ ( x ) + ( x ) ⎟
4 -20 85 -50 4.0581 6.455 ⎝ i upper i lower ⎠
(3)
5 -20 85 20 4.8492 6.900
6 -20 85 90 4.6045 11.800 Where, Xi is ,X1, X2, X3 and Xiupper is upper boundary
of X1, X2, X3 and Xilower is lower boundary of X1, X2, X3.
7 -20 180 -50 3.5670 7.818
8 -20 180 20 3.7244 7.292 A = 10 X 1 − 10
9 -20 180 90 3.8671 10.490 B = 95 X 2 + 85
10 -10 -10 -50 5.2369 6.879 C = 70 X 3 + 20
(4)
11 -10 -10 20 5.8102 9.710
12 -10 -10 90 5.5716 14.080 As with Eq. (2), the regression function is a simple
13 -10 85 -50 3.9407 6.577 mathematical model. Hence, by using mathematical
optimization techniques, we acquire the following.
14 -10 85 20 4.3662 7.071
15 -10 85 90 4.4533 11.650 X 1 = −0.5163, X 2 = 0.3162, X 3 = −0.8253
16 -10 180 -50 3.3336 8.267
17 -10 180 20 3.3491 7.481 The above values are changed to the following
values by using Eq. (4).
18 -10 180 90 3.6566 10.420
19 0 -10 -50 5.2973 7.064 A = −15.163, B = 115.039, C = −37.771
20 0 -10 20 5.9401 9.545
The physical meaning of the above values is that
21 0 -10 90 5.6369 13.850 each A and C mount is relocated downwards from the
22 0 85 -50 3.8672 6.841 existing locations by 15.163mm and 37.771mm,
respectively, and the B mount is relocated upwards from
23 0 85 20 4.3874 7.012 the existing location by 115.039mm.
24 0 85 90 4.5004 11.470
Table 6 compares the result of the regression
25 0 180 -50 3.3134 8.615
function with the results of analysis, with regard to the
26 0 180 20 3.4856 7.444 optimal values. The values in parentheses describe the
27 0 180 90 3.6091 10.350 percentage reduction with reference to the displacement
of the original model. The error between the result of the
regression function and the result of analysis is 2.3%,
which implies that the regression function is reliable.

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Table 6 Final result REFERENCES


Original Regression Analysis
model function result
3.893 4.098 1. S. S. Yang and T. H. Kwon, "Deformation analysis of
Disp. of interest 5.958
(34.6%) (31.2%) injection molded articles due to in-mold residual
6.555 6.595 stress and subsequent cooling after ejection",
Maximum disp. 8.674
(24.4%) (24.0%) transaction of the KSME(A), Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 240-
Disp. of interest
10.448 10.692 348, 2002.
+ Maximum 14.632
(28.6%) (26.9%) 2. K. Park, J. H. Ahn and C. H. Yim, "Residual stress
disp
estimation and deformation analysis for injection
molded plastic parts using three-dimensional solid
elements", transaction of the KSME(A), Vol. 27, No.
CONCLUSION
4, pp. 507-514, 2003.
3. H. C. Lee, H. M. Park, S. H. Ji, I. K. Jang, "The
In this study, we conducted fundamental experiments
optimal rib design considering thermal deformation
(heat cycle test, creep test, tensile test, etc.) and finite
and dynamic stiffness of automotive interior pillar
element analysis for predicting the thermal deformation
trim", spring conference proceedings of the KSAE,
of A-pillar trims. Next, we developed a design process
pp. 1163-1168, 2006.
for reducing the empirical thermal deformation.
4. H. Y. Kim, J. J. Kim, J. S. Kim, "A study on the
warpage and post-deformation in heat resistance
This research has the following conclusions.
test of automotive plastic components", Journal of
the Korean society of precision engineering, Vol. 13,
(1) We acquired the data on material properties that
No. 5, pp. 44-52, 1996.
are relevant to the thermal cycle and confirmed that the
5. K. H. Yoon, "Plastics in automotive components",
result of the analysis of thermal displacement
Advanced materials and manufacturing in
approximately conformed to the experimental result of a
automotive engineering, No. 2, pp. 33-38, 2006.
real car (the error was within 5%).
6. Hypermesh User's manual, Altair, 2006.
7. ABAQUS User's manual 6.5, HKS, Inc.
(2) Through computer simulation and an experiment
with a real car, we developed the process of design for
CONTACT
reducing the thermal displacement. We confirmed that
these results can be applied to front-pillar trims. The MYUNG-WON SUH (Corresponding author)
displacement of the optimal model is reduced by 10%
when compared to the displacement of the existing Professor / School of Mechanical Engineering /
model. Sungkyunkwan University

(3) We confirmed that the total displacement of the 300 Chunchun-dong, Jangan-gu, Suwon, 440-746,
optimal model is reduced by 28.6%, as compared with South Korea
the displacement of the existing model, as the result of
the optimization of the mount positions. Phone: +82-31-290-7447 Fax: +82-31-290-7447

E-mail: suhmw@skku.edu
(4) By computerizing the design process for relying
on experience and exploiting techniques of optimization,
we laid the foundation for a systematic method of
design..

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This work was supported by NGVTEK funded by


HYUNDAI-KIA MOTORS.

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