Simulating suspension lightens motor cars

Altair ProductDesign is partnering with the innovative US car designer, Edison2, to help design the new Very Light Car 4.0 (VLC 4.0), the next generation version of the light-weight, fuel-efficient vehicle entered in the Progressive Automotive XPRIZE in 2010.

The original Edison2 vehicle, operating with a one-cylinder internal combustion engine, won the $5 million prize for the Mainstream Class. The VLC 4.0 is a four-passenger vehicle that will maintain fuel economy by retaining the ultra-light weight and extremely low aerodynamic drag.

Altair ProductDesign will conduct a three-phase engineering study targeting suspension sensitivity, vehicle impact strategy, and structural optimisation. Altair will provide computer-aided engineering optimisation and crash-safety engineers, multi-body dynamics engineers, subject-matter experts and senior technical specialists to assist the Edison2.

‘Our engineers will focus on using optimisation in the beginning of the design process to anticipate structural loading requirements with a minimum mass structure,’ said Mike Heskitt, chief operating officer of Altair ProductDesign. ‘We will be identifying the critical load paths in the design space, brainstorming concept design solutions and using detailed optimisation to refine those solutions for a minimum mass footprint.’

Other aspects of the work will analyse ride and handling, steering sensitivity and noise-vibration-harshness (NVH).

‘Altair’s HyperWorks simulation suite will be used to validate Edison2’s novel suspension concept for the type of performance expected on a passenger car,’ said Heskitt. ‘Multiple attributes will be optimised for the trade-offs typically encountered in suspension design.'

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