Rectangular and round tubular structures are typically used in a vehicles’ front structure to increase the energy absorption capacity in the event of an accident. There is significant interest in lighter structures for improving automobiles’ fuel efficiency with the challenge of maintaining or preferably exceeding the energy absorption properties of the structure. The structural members are designed to take on the challenge of absorbing maximum amount of energy in a relatively short period of time, while also maintaining reactive forces below damaging levels as they undergo progressive deformation under axial loading. The type of deformation mode is critical as it defines the overall configuration of force-displacement curve. There are different types of deformation modes for cross tube under axial loading. Likewise, cellular structures exhibit distinct deformation modes under in-plane loading. The work presented here investigates the effects of bonding of composite cellular core structure on deformation modes of cross tubes under axial loading. The numerical simulations were performed in ABAQUS finite element software. Four cases were considered for analysis. The first case did not contain core bonding. The second case consisted of 3 bonding sites. In the third case, 5 bonding zones were defined and in the final case, 7 bonding sites were assigned. Bonding of the composite core resulted in an increase of up to 39.2% energy absorption as compared to the unbonded case. The results show discrete bonding of composite cellular core with the tube has significant effect on progressive deformation of tubes and therefore, presents an opportunity to re-configure force-displacement curve for improved protection of automobile structures under impact loading.

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