Research programmes and demonstrators
SIMLab works with aluminium extrusions and plates, aluminium castings, high-strength steels and polymers. The basic research areas forming the SIMLab technology platform, (1) materials, (2) solution techniques, and (3) structures, are linked through 5 research programmes and the Demonstrator activity.
Developing the technology
SIMLab's technology platform provides a framework for safe and cost-effective structures. The technology platform is being developed through advances on the following basic research areas:
- Materials: Development of improved quantitative constitutive models and failure criteria for large scale analyses as well as identification methods.
- Solution techniques: Establishment of accurate and robust solution techniques for simulation of impact problems.
- Structures: Investigation of fundamental response mechanisms of generic components and structures as well as the behaviour and modelling of joints. This research area will serve as a link between Materials, Solution techniques and Demonstrators.
- Demonstrators: The selection of demonstrators is carried out in close cooperation with industrial partners. The interaction between the activities denoted Basic Research and Demonstrators is crucial with respect to validation and possible refinement of the technology developed in the centre.
Applications of SIMLab research
Research activities primarily concentrate on determining the strength and ductility of steel, aluminium and polymer structures. Special emphasis is placed on the crashworthiness of automotive structural systems, such as bumper systems and crash boxes. This involves the modelling of plastic anisotropy, strain rate dependency and failure, and the development of appropriate algorithms for large scale analyses are carried out. The energy absorption of such systems is governed by inelastic material behaviour, the interaction between local and global buckling, development of folding mechanisms, and by connection design. The latter is related to activities on the behaviour and modelling of welded connections and self piercing rivets.
Offshore and maritime sector applications
In the offshore and maritime sector the group’s research activities focus on energy absorption of sub-sea installations and topside protective systems, and the behaviour of stiffened aluminium panels for use in living quarters and high speed boat and ferries.
Penetration mechanics and blast loading
Another activity area is that of penetration mechanics and blast loading, applicable to protective systems both in the oil and gas industry, as well as the development of mobile protective systems used in international peacekeeping operations. Material modelling has important applications in plastic forming and formability. Recently, activities concerning the modelling and design of cast aluminium and magnesium structures and polymers have been initiated.
The group's research profile can be characterized as follows:
- mathematical modelling of materials,
- material and component testing at various loading conditions, and
- implementation of material models suited for large scale structural analyses.
The competencies of the group serve as a basis for research activities on the structural behaviour of components and structures, taking into account the interaction between material behaviour, structural geometry, and manufacturing process.
Among other things, SIMlab has developed extensive experimental facilities for dynamic testing of materials, components, and structural subsystems, and participates in the development of structural design codes at both the national level, and in international organizations such as ISO and CEN. The group is also working with the European automotive industry.