Automotive Wheel Assembly: A Case Study in Durability Design

    Published: Jan 1994

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    A project to decrease the weight of a stamped metal automotive wheel assembly, through material substitution and downgaging, is presented as a case study in durability design. A coordinated analytical/experimental approach is used to assess wheel fatigue performance under laboratory and simulated service conditions. Finite element modeling is employed to develop relations between bending moments applied to the wheel during cornering maneuvers and peak stress excursions in the wheel spider. Cyclic material properties for candidate materials (high-strength steel and aluminum), that include the effects of cold work resulting from the wheel-forming operation, are used with strain-based fatigue methods to obtain estimates of wheel performance under various cyclic loading situations, including a standard Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) laboratory fatigue test and service histories representative of different drivers and customer routes. Finally, reliability design methods are employed to evaluate the effects of variations in wheel geometry, materials properties, and service loading on the expected fatigue performance of a fleet of vehicles in service situations. This approach provides failure probability information based on measured or estimated variations in design parameters and is particularly relevant to quality and warranty issues.


    fatigue analysis, wheel design, materials substitution, finite elements, service histories, reliability, fatigue education

    Author Information:

    Landgraf, RW
    Professor and associate professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA

    Thangjitham, S
    Professor and associate professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA

    Ridder, RL
    Design engineer, B&W Fuel Company, Lynchburg, VA

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.01

    DOI: 10.1520/STP13981S

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