Developing crashworthy aluminum structural systems presents a dual challenge. The challenge lies first in the material and second in the design approach. The objective of this paper is to examine both the material and design elements and to validate the design methodology using CAE analysis and components experimental data from an aluminum space frame partial front end structural buck design & development project. The CAE analysis examines the static and dynamic load carrying capacity and crash energy management of the components and partial front end systems under full frontal rigid barrier impact. The experimental validation uses static and dynamic data from several components and one partial front end structural buck designed and manufactured during the undertaking of this design project. The components were tested while the design is being carried out. The testing of the partial front end buck was carried out at a later date. The objective of this paper is not to correlate CAE results with the test data, but rather to demonstrate the benefit and effectiveness of applying low resolution fast CAE tools, such as nonlinear collapsible beam finite element and stability codes, along with limited components static and dynamic testing to the early stage of a program to guide the structural crashworthiness and energy management design process and achieve design objectives.

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