Optimum design of vehicle’s structure is an important task in its development. The structure of a vehicle plays complex interactions with the other vehicle components and has significant impact on the performance of the vehicle. Structural design is usually completed by a complex iterative process. The design changes at late design stages effect many other parameters in the design of vehicle. Therefore, it is highly valuable for designers to employ simple but effective analyses at the early design stages. One method of analysis is using Simple Structural Surfaces. This method utilizes planar sheets to model the vehicle structure and allows the determination of the forces in each sheet. The major drawback of this method is its inability to easily determine deflections in a structure. To overcome this drawback a method that uses beam elements to represent the vehicle structure has been developed. This method uses a numerical finite element method and is able to determine unknown deflections and reaction forces as well as the internal loading on each member. This method can also be readily adapted to allow for parametric optimization for bending stiffness. The parameters associated with each beam element are the length, orientation and the beam characteristics of beams’ cross-sectional area and moment of inertia. An automated process is developed that manipulates some of these parameters to develop a structure that will have the greatest bending stiffness.

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