Jagger, Ian Michael (2006) Lightweight design of a suspension arm by friction stir welding. Masters thesis, Durham University.
The research seeks initially to investigate why a greater shift to lightweight technologies for suspension design has not occurred already over the mass market vehicle sector. It outlines the 'knock-on' benefits of lightweight design and identifies roadblocks which hinder progress. Recent annual metrics of vehicle performance related to mass are investigated. Focusing on individual areas of the suspension, benchmarking identifies the best practice amongst current designs. Manufacturing and process engineering strategies are proposed to support the development of lightweight products with considerably improved environmental acceptability.MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding, universally accepted as the default joining technology in this field, was found to be restrictive to progress due primarily to detrimental effects on metallurgical, dimensional and process variation on both steel and aluminium products. The latest construction materials were reviewed for suspension application, but the focus remained on proposing light weighting solutions for material generically available in economic volumes today, but with new joining technologies to overcome current restrictions in using less of these materials for each component. Following a full review of the joining technologies available for automotive suspension construction, friction stir welding (FSW) was proposed as an alternative joining technology, with FSW replacing MIG in conjunction with extruded aluminium materials. This removed the barriers incumbent in the use of MIG, which demands a more conservative, heavier design to ensure adequate service lifetime. Design concepts were engineered to take maximum advantage of the strategy of aluminium, extrusions, assembled with friction stir welding. Several viable designs were conceived, from which two were developed and compared. The optimum design was then carried forward into a manufacturing feasibility stage. The extrusions were developed for ease of manufacture, and friction stir welding trials progressed on coupons (plain plates) to ensure that the process was viable. Aluminium in the soft and hardened conditions in different thicknesses and joint configurations were successfully friction stir welded during the trial. Future work would develop the extruded aluminium arm further, into the prototype phase, with sample extrusions being manufactured, FSW welded and assembled. Prototypes would then be rig tested to ensure mechanical and durability performance prior to vehicle trials. There are also possibilities in developing high strength thin wall multi-phase steel solutions, utilising Friction Stir Spot Welding (FSSW). This welding technology enhances the selection of high strength steels, as minimal strength is sacrificed during the joining operation.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Science|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||08 Sep 2011 18:31|