This research article presents the crashworthiness response of carbon fiber composite front bumper crush can (FBCC) assembly subjected to 40% offset frontal impact loading. Automobile manufacturers continue to strive for overall vehicle weight reduction while maintaining or enhancing safety performance. Therefore, the physical testing of lightweight materials becomes extremely important under a crash scenario in order to apply them to automotive structures to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. In this study carbon fiber/epoxy lightweight composite material is chosen to develop frontal bumper beam crush can assemblies. Due to lack of available studies on carbon fiber composite FBCCs assemblies under frontal offset crash scenario, a new component-level experimental study is conducted in order to develop data that will provide assistance to CAE models for better correlation. A sled-on-sled testing method was utilized to perform tests in this study. 40 % offset frontal tests on FBCC structures were conducted by utilizing three high-speed cameras (HSCs), several accelerometers and load wall.
Impact histories i.e. crash pulse, force-time history, force-displacement, impact characteristics and deformation patterns from all FBCC tests were consistent. The standard deviation and coefficient of variance for the energy absorbed were very low suggesting the repeatability of the 40% offset tests. Excellent correlation was achieved between video tracking and accelerometers results for time histories of displacement and velocity. Post-impact photographs showed the progressive crushing of composite crush cans, bumper beam/crush can adhesive joint failure located on unimpacted side and breakage of the bumper beam due to the production of shear stresses as it is stretched due to its curvature after hitting the sled.