The presented research activity is focused on the lightweight construction of a of truck wheel, with the final aim of improving the energy efficiency in compliance with current safety standards.
On the basis of the design of a truck wheel currently into production, the objective of reducing the wheel mass is achieved by adopting high-strength materials, optimizing the geometry, and developing a new production process.
The approach used for the new wheel design is based on the selection of a proper mission of the vehicle and on the acquisition of the loading spectra defined by using a new measuring wheel. The information obtained is used during the structural analysis phase. Based on the current production process, a number of suitable materials have been selected. Innovative manufacturing processes have been considered for improving the fatigue life of the wheel. Shot peening has been considered as a method to improve fatigue strength. Moreover, the introduction of laser cutting and welding led both to more freedom in the definition of the geometry of the wheel and to the reduction of the effects of geometric notches due to the absence of weld beads. A dedicated indoor test rig was used for durability tests. These activities led to a new truck wheel with reduced mass that is currently in the experimental validation phase.