The Ohio State University

MSC Software and Smart Vehicle Concepts Center at the Ohio State University Collaborate on Key Projects on Improving Vehicle Performance

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The National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on Smart Vehicle Concepts was officially launched in July 2007 at The Ohio State University. Texas A&M University joined as a partner site in July 2008. The mission of the Smart Vehicle Concepts Center (SVC) is as follows: (1) Conduct basic and applied research on the characterization of smart materials, and the development of adaptive sensors, actuators and devices (based on active materials and control methods) for application to vehicle sub-systems and components; (2) Build an unmatched base of research, engineering education, and technology transfer with emphasis on improved vehicle performance; and (3) Develop well-trained engineers and researchers (at the MS and PhD levels) with both experimental and theoretical viewpoints.

The SVC focuses on pre-competitive research, which overcomes basic obstacles that prevent a technology from being used in commercial applications. It also provides an understanding of the characteristics of new technologies or materials and is aimed at providing the tools, information, and data that enables others to develop future products and services. Equal benefit is offered to all competitors, and industry standards and test procedures are developed where no precedents exit. One of the many benefits gained by industrial partners in such a group includes accomplishing research at a fraction of the cost. It also provides industries an avenue to investigate topics of common interest, and it is an excellent tool for recruiting first rate students. Current memberships include companies from automotive and aerospace industries, as well as government R&D agencies.

MSC Software was granted the 'Invited Observer' status within the SVC in 2009 based on in-kind support (in terms of software) as well as endorsement by the SVC Industrial Advisory Board. The specialized software from MSC include: (a) The University FEA Bundle featuring MD Nastran, Patran, Marc, & Dytran; and (b) The University Motion Bundle featuring MD Adams, Adams/Car, & Easy5. The SVC was provided with 5-user pack of annual, networked, academic licenses for each bundle to facilitate cutting edge research. At the Fifth Semi-Annual Meeting that will be held February 8-9, 2012 at The Ohio State University, MSC will be giving a short course on "Materials Modeling Using Finite Elements." The SVC is very excited to have this course offered at our meeting.

A research team at the Smart Vehicle Concepts Center (SVC) led by Professor Greg Washington at The Ohio State University developed a new software package that organizes, tabulates, and calculates information on smart materials not currently available from a single source. The project relied on an extensive survey of published articles, including properties of the materials, and incorporating available mathematical models. The user-friendly, comprehensive database on smart materials enables fast, cost-effective selection of smart materials for designing devices, systems, system simulations, and corresponding industrial application designs. Types of smart materials include dielectric elastomer, piezoelectric (polymer/ceramic) materials, shape memory alloys, electro-rheological and magneto-rheological fluids, and thermoelectric materials. They are categorized into four groups according to their functionalities: actuator, sensor, energy generator, and passive structural materials. Currently available mathematical models and potential applications are identified to select the best model for a given purpose. Additionally, a simple, effective model is determined in case no suitable model exists. The current and potential applications of the materials are addressed, and the associated system-level models for selected materials are developed to predict the performance of the overall system. The software is currently being tested by sponsors. Future versions of the software should enable users to access the database in order to acquire more information such as cost, reference, applications, and materials development, relative to manufacturability, repeatability, durability, and other benefits.

Yet another recent project at the SVC led by Center Director Professor Rajendra Singh is focusing on the modeling and characterization of passive and adaptive bushings and mounts. Bushings are common components in vehicle suspension and steering systems. They influence vehicle handling and noise, vibration, and harshness (commonly referred to as NVH). Suspension system bushings reduce shock and vibration transmitted from the wheels to the frame of the vehicle. Their small amplitude dynamic stiffness and damping characteristics influence vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness performance. Their large-amplitude static force-deflection characteristics are crucial for vehicle ride and handling performance. On the other hand, when a vehicle is driven on a rough road, elastomeric components experience large-amplitude dynamic loads. Therefore, both linear and nonlinear properties of the bushings are important in real-world applications. In particular, the dynamic responses of hydraulic bushings are poorly understood since their dynamic properties are highly frequency dependent, amplitude sensitive and preload dependent. In order to better understand such devices and overcome a distinct void in the literature, hydraulic bushings with alternate inertia track and orifice configurations are analytically and experimentally investigated. Further, joint properties strongly influence the modes of frame vibrations. Controlled laboratory experiments have been (or will be) designed and constructed. This will enhance the state of the art as few experimental studies of frame dynamics with flexible joints, especially those with cross-axis coupling exist. Modal coupling is already observed in the initial frame-bushing test results. To clarify the joint-frame interactions, a new vibration-based method is being developed that identifies the linearized in-situ damping and stiffness matrices of joints.

Smart Vehicle Concepts Center
National Science Foundation I/UCRC
MSC Software Corporation

Professor R. Singh, Director, NSF I/UCRC Smart Vehicle Concepts Center
The Ohio State University, 201 West 19th Ave, Columbus, OH  43210 USA
E-mail: <>, Phone: 614-292-9044

Professor Rajendra Singh