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Analysis of the performances of automotive car


bodies with different structural contrasts
CONFERENCE PAPER SEPTEMBER 2015

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11th International Conference on Engineering Vibration


Ljubljana, Slovenia, 710 September 2015

ANALYSIS OF THE PERFORMANCES OF AUTOMOTIVE CAR


BODIES WITH DIFFERENT STRUCTURAL CONTRASTS
M. Nobou Dassi*1,2 , A. Gaudin1 , Z. Abbadi1 , L. Gagliardini1 , C. Pezerat2 , F. Gautier2
1 PSA

Peugeot Citroen, Direction de la Recherche et de lIngenierie Avancee


Route de Gisy 78140 Velizy, France
martial.noboudassi@mpsa.com
2 Laboratoire

dAcoustique de lUniversite du Maine,


Rue Aristote, 72085 Le Mans cedex 9, France

Keywords: Vibration, NVH performances, Structural contrast, Mobility, Automotive.


Abstract. To reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by cars, one solution considered
is to reduce their masses by using composite materials. However, the introduction of such
orthotropic materials can significantly modify the automotive design due to the new distribution
of local stiffnesses. These modifications may result in very different vibroacoustic behaviours
and therefore different NVH performances. Indeed, the panels can participate more greatly
to the overall stiffness of the car, reducing the ratio of frame in the architecture and therefore
changing the structural contrast between frame and panels. The objective of this work is to
investigate the NVH performances of several car body models built with different structural
contrasts.
Several strategies can be used to highlight the structural contrast of a mechanical system made
of frame and panels. In this work, this concept is developed by calculating the input point
mobilities. This approach allows building maps which are representative of the vibrational
behaviour of the car body. On such maps, the areas corresponding to the presence of stiffeners
(frame) can be identified, and a histogram containing the input points mobilities values allows
the definition of a dynamic structural contrast indicator. This indicator can be used to evaluate
the level of contrast of any kind of models.

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

INTRODUCTION

Since several years, the mass reduction of structures linked to CO2 emissions in the automotive industry has become one of the main topics of industrial research. The main impact
of introducing lightweight materials such as composite materials in a car is the very poor performance in terms of vibroacoustic behaviour. This performance is directly linked to some
structural parts of the car body. As it happens, the resistance to external efforts is conventionally ensured by the frame, whereas the tightness is ensured by the panels. It seems obvious
that this conventional configuration may change, due to the specific properties of the new used
materials. In this context, panels made with composites materials may for example participate
more greatly to the overall stiffness of a car.
Design an efficient architecture of car body suitable to the lightweight materials, highlight the
main parameters that control the behaviour and evaluate the resulting NVH performance are
the main topics that we are interested in. To achieve this, we will use a simplified model of
car, which will be declined in several models with different configurations. The study of these
models will allow bringing out the concept of structural contrast.
2

THE GENERAL AUTOMOTIVE NVH

The Noise and Vibration Harshness (NVH) of a car body is generally defined as the study
and the modification of the noise and vibration characteristics of a vehicle to achieve a given
performance target. In the automotive industry, the targeted performance is related to needs
expressed by the customers, which are representative of the overall comfort feeling of the car.
The expressed needs are accurately studied by techniques like System Engineering, which allow
identification of subsystems that control the overall behaviour. This approach therefore leads
to the definition of a functional and a component architectures, which ensure the coherence
between the subsystems behaviours and the NVH performance.
2.1

The automotive NVH behaviour

During his life cycle, a car body is subjected to several kinds of excitations that generate
operating organs vibrations and noise inside the air cavity. To reduce the noise and vibrations,
Cremer [1] explains that one should control the phenomena bellow:
the generation defined as the origin of an oscillation;
the transmission of oscillatory energy to a passive structure;
the propagation of the transmitted energy throughout the structural systems;
the radiation of power from involved subsystems to the connected fluid.
These phenomena can be presented as shown in figure 1.
The figure 1 highlights the fact that some subsystems have to be accurately designed in order
to satisfy the needs expressed by the stakeholders. To ensure the NVH performance, each
subsystem shall fill specific functions. The set of functions to be filled by the subsystems defines
the functional architecture of the car.
2.2

The automotive NVH performances

The NVH performance is defined for each considered frequency range. Indeed, each frequency range matches a particular behaviour, and therefore a specific definition of performance.
2

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

Figure 1: Noise sources and transfer paths on a car body.

The automotive frequencies ranges can be defined as following:


the Very Low Frequencies (VLF) range, which corresponds to the zone where appear the
first global deformation modes of the car body (torsional mode, bending modes...), vehicle
suspension modes and the mounted powertrain modes. This range also correspond to the
zone where appear the human being modes, which need to be carefully avoided;
the Low Frequencies (LF) range, which corresponds to the zone where the car body has a
modal behaviour, with distinct and isolated resonance peaks;
the Mid-Frequencies (MF) range, reveals a mixed behaviour. While some areas of the
car continue to have a modal behaviour, others have a more homogeneous behaviour
with a high level of overlap between adjacent peaks. This dual behaviour makes this
range difficult to analyse because it involves the use of both deterministic and statistical
techniques;
the High Frequency (HF) range corresponds to the zone where the response is almost
uniform throughout the car. This behaviour allows the use of assumptions like diffuse
field and energetic techniques on the overall car body.
Regarding the introduction of composites materials in the car and therefore the structural contrast, we are particularly interested in the NVH performance on the LF and the MF ranges.
2.2.1

The performance on the Low Frequency range

The LF range is related to a particular field of the mechanics which introduces all the deterministic methods and allows an accurate study of complex systems. These methods use
appropriate mathematical developments in order to predict the response of a system in terms of
displacement or pressure field for a given and well described excitation.
To meet the expressed needs, one should control the vibrational behaviour of the car and the
pressure field in the air cavity, which represents the noise level felt by passengers. The vibroacoustic performance will therefore be defined as the ability to guarantee a low level of vibration
on the structure and a low level of pressure in the air cavity for a deterministic load applied to
the system.

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

2.2.2

The performance on the Mid Frequency range

The MF range is characterised by a dual behaviour, representative to both LF and HF ranges.


This dual behaviour requires the introduction of energetic approaches, which allow taking into
account both stochastic and deterministic behaviours. Energy averages are then made to characterize the behaviour of the structure and the cavity.
To properly design on this frequency band, one should control the energetic vibrational levels
on the structure and the energetic noise levels in the cavity. The NVH performance is therefore
defined as the ability to guarantee a low energetic vibrational level on structural subsystems and
a low energetic pressure level in the air cavity.
3

DESIGNING A SIMPLIFIED MODEL OF CAR FOR THE ANALYSIS

The models of cars presented in this section were already used by the authors in [4] and [3]
in the general context of understanding the consequences of introducing composites materials
in the automotive design. These models are simplified finite element models of a Citroen C3.
The original model is a finite element body in white as shown in Figure 2. This original model
has a mass of 284kg and 1, 150, 000 degrees of freedom.

Figure 2: Original Finite Element Model

The simplified model car is obtained from this original model by introducing two main simplifications. The simplifications aim to provide an easy-to-use model, with sufficiently representative results compare to the original car body. The first simplification consists in representing
the hollow sections by rectangular section beams, as presented in figure 3. This simplification
reduces the number of degrees of freedom of the system (and therefore saves computation time).
It also facilitates changing the thickness and inertia (without remeshing or morphing). Applying
this on all the car bodys hollow sections leads to the definition of the simplified models frame.
The second simplification introduced consists in modelling some car body panels by introducing an orthotropic behaviour. This allows as presented in figure 4 to take into account both
ribbed floors and composites materials panels behaviours. The application of this procedure
leads to the definition of the simplified models panels.
Assembling frame and panels allows the definition of the simplified model of car as presented
in figure 5. This simplified model has only 200, 000 degrees of freedom.

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

Figure 3: Designing the frame

Figure 4: Modelling panels on the simplified models

Figure 5: Simplified model of car body

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

THE CAR BODY MOBILITIES MAPS

A car body system generally has a high complexity, due to the presence of different component parts. The separation of the car body in a frame and a set of panels constitutes a first step
of sub-structuring in order to overcome this complexity. The frame in this context represents
the part that ensures resistance to the overall system, while the panels ensures tightness. To efficiently introduce the composites materials in the cars, we propose a point mobilities approach
related to the energy balance of the car to characterize the contrast between the frame and the
panels and identify the configuration which leads to the best performance compromise.
4.1

The car body point mobilities

The equation of the structure discretized by the finite element method is conventionally written in the harmonic domain as follows:

K + jK + jC 2 M u () = F () ,
(1)
where M , C and K are respectively the mass, the damping and the stiffness matrices. K is the
structural damping matrix, associate to the loss factor . is the pulsation, u is the displacement
field and F is the applied force vector.
The projection on the eigen modes basis allows writing equation 1 as presented in equation 2,
by introducing the eigen vectors matrix defined by u = q:

t K + jt K + jt C 2 t M q () = t F () ,
(2)
where q is the modal coordinates vector. If the damping is small enough, all projected matrices
are diagonal. The terms of the diagonal can be written as follows:
t K = [kp ]
t K = [p kp ]
t C = [cp ]
t M = [mp ]

(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)


kp (1 + jp ) + jcp 2 mp qp () = tp F () ,

(7)

Equation 2 can therefore be written as:

The response of the system is then written as a sum of independent modal contributions as
presented in equation 8:
u () =

n
X
p=1

p tp
F () ,
kp (1 + jp ) + jcp 2 mp

(8)

The input point mobility of a structure is the ratio between the velocity at the degree of freedom
Mi and the applied force at the same degree of freedom as presented in equation 9:
YMi ,Mi =

juMi
.
F Mi

(9)

The transfer mobility of a structure is the ratio between the velocity at the degree of freedom
Mi and the applied force at another degree of freedom Qi as presented in equation 14:
YMi ,Qi =
6

juMi
.
F Qi

(10)

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

The damping is generally introduced either in viscous form or as a structural damping. The
correspondence is ensured by writing at the resonance p = 2p . It is also possible to introduce
the concepts of effective modal masses, effective modal forces and generalized modal pulsation
respectively defined as:
f
mef
p

Fpef f

tp M p
= t
p p
tp F
= t
p p

bp2 = 2 (1 jp )

(11)
(12)
(13)

The mobility can therefore been written as:


YMi ,Qi () =

n
X
p=1

4.2

Q
M
j
p p
.

bp2 + 2jp p 2 mp

(14)

The energy balance and mobilities maps

The energy balance of a structure is done by introducing the terms of injected and dissipated
power. The injected power due to an excitation force F is conventionally written as presented
in equation 15:
F = Re (V F ) ,
(15)
where V is the conjugate transpose of the velocity. For an isolated system, the dissipated power
equals the injected power. If the damping is introduced by a constant loss factor, the vibrational
energy is proportional to the average power dissipated through the structural loss factor.
To study the power injected into the structure, we assume a force having constant spectral power
density and which is therefore frequency independent. Using the definition of the input point
mobility in a modal approach, the mean injected power hF i is written as follows:
Z
hF i =
Re {F Y F } d
(16)

!
Z
n
X
F t p tp F
j
=
Re
d
(17)
2 + 2j 2

b
m
p
p
p

p
p=1
t 2 Z


n
X p F
j
hF i =
Re
d.
(18)
mp

bp2 + 2jp p 2

p=1
The term in the integral tends to 2 when the resonance frequency is included the band and
is equal to zero otherwise. The mean injected power therefore becomes:
hF i

2
X |tk F |

.
2 mk

(19)

For mass normalized modes, the mean mobility at the degree of freedom Mi is therefore written
as:
X 2k (Mi )
hYMi ,Mi i
,
(20)
2
k

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

In the case of a 3D structure, the point mobility correspond to a matrix. To characterize the
excitability of a structure, it is logical to consider the mobility in the direction of maximum
excitability. This quantity calculated at each node of the model allows building of a mobilities
map, which shows the stiffness behaviour of each zone of the car. An example of mobilities
map for the frequency band [500 1000]Hz is presented in figure 6.

Figure 6: Mobilities map of the simplified model of car

On such a map, the areas corresponding to the presence of stiffeners (frame) can be identified
easily. We are interested in understanding the evolutions of mobilities values obtained on this
map.
Let us consider some elements of the model and compare the obtained mobilities with corresponding analytical values. Studying evolution of point mobilities between the different areas
of the structure will allow highlighting a structural contrast. Cremer [1] gives the as presented
in equation 21 an analytical expression of point mobility for an infinite plate, computed in its
center:
s
1 3(1 2 )
,
(21)
YAna =
4
Eh4
where is the Poisson ratio of the material, is the mass density, E is the Young modulus and
h is the thickness of the plate. Let us consider the roof, the windscreen and the rear floor pan
having different mobilities values as highlighted in figure 7.
These panels have the properties presented in table 1

Roof
Windscreen
Rear floor pan

E[M P a]
2.10 e+5
7 e+4
13.65 e+6

t
[ mm
3]
7.85 e9
2.5 e9
7.85 e9

h[mm]
0.3
0.67
0.22
4.4
0.3
0.67

Table 1: Selected panels properties

As explained during the presentation of the simplified model, some panels have an orthotropic
behaviour. The rear floor pan is one of those panels. Since the values displayed on each node
correspond to the mobilities in the direction of maximum excitability, the Young modulus used
8

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

Figure 7: Selected panels mobilities

to calculate the analytic values is taken in the same direction. Applying these properties in
equation 21 leads to the analytical mobilities YAna presented in table 2. The table also presents
the numerical mobilities values YN um , obtained on the built map.
1
YAna [( mm
)2 ]
t.N
1
YN um [( mm
)2 ]
t.N

Roof Windscreen Rear floor pan


22.66
1.65
2.8
19.2
1.1
3

Table 2: Comparison of analytical and numerical mobility

The mobilities levels obtained analytically and numerically are close enough to validate the
developed approach. The small differences between the values can be attributed to the fact that
the selected panels are not infinite (as considered in the analytical approach), and the selected
panels interact with other subsystems having different mobilities levels.
Cremer also give an analytical expression of point mobility for an infinite beam. This mobility
computed in the center of the beam is written as presented in equation 22:
1j
1
,
YAna =
4 (EI) 14 (A) 34

(22)

where j is the imaginary unit, I is the moment of inertia of the beam and A is the section area
of the beam. Let us consider (as done for the panels) the roof reinforcing crosspiece, the engine
support and the centre pillar as highlighted in figure 8.
These beams have the properties presented in table 3
Roof reinforcing crosspiece
Engine support
Centre pillar

t
E[M P a] [ mm
3]
+5
2.10 e
7.80 e9
+5
2.10 e
7.80 e9
2.10 e+5 7.80 e9

0.3
0.3
0.3

I[mm4 ]
2.78 e+3
2.32 e+2
3.05 e+5

A[mm2 ]
173.32
30.84
720.44

Table 3: Selected beams properties

As explained in the case of the panels, the mobilities are computed in the direction of maximum
9

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

Figure 8: Selected beams mobilities

excitability. The moments of inertia here presented are thus taken in the same direction. Applying these properties in equation 22 leads to the analytical mobilities values YAna presented
in table 4. The table also presents the numerical mobilities values YN um , obtained on the built
map.
1
)2 ]
YAna [( mm
t.N
1
)2 ]
YN um [( mm
t.N

Roof reinforcing crosspiece Engine support Centre pillar


0.72
4.91
0.076
0.68
4.69
0.07
Table 4: Comparison of analytical and numerical mobility

Table 4 allows validating the beams mobilities values obtained on the maps. The observed differences can be attributed to the nature of the beams (not infinite as supposed in the analytical
expression), to the presence of adjacent elements, and also to the curvature.
This approach brings out the fact that an automotive structure has areas with different mobility
levels, due to local stiffness differences. These differences can be characterized by introducing
the concept of structural contrast. We are interested in defining a related indicator which helps
understanding the impact of changing materials on the vibroacoustic performances of a car.
5
5.1

LIGHTWEIGHT MODELS AND DEFINITION OF THE CONTRAST INDICATOR


Definition of lightweight models

The use of composites materials in the automotive design has significant advantages that
Giocasa presents in his work [2] as following:
a low mass density of the final structure;
the possibility to obtain structures with complex geometry by moulding and over-moulding;
the use of the optimum amount of material required for the desired function;
removing machining.

10

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

Such materials may however introduce difficulties, due to the new distribution of local stiffnesses. To analyse their impacts on the design, one solution is to build a comparative analysis
with models having different design scenarios and therefore different structural contrast levels.
In order to achieve this, we propose to change the Young modulus used for the frame, from a
very low value corresponding to a polymer (E 8 108 Pa) to a high value corresponding to
a carbon fiber (E 4 1011 Pa). Switching from one model to another, the Young modulus is
doubled while the Poisson ratio and mass density are kept constant in order to observe only the
effect of the structural contrast. Thus, the 10 built models have the frame material properties
presented in table 5.
Model
E[P a]

kg
[ m
3]

2
5

8.20 e
0.3
7.8 e3

3
6

1.64 e
0.3
7.8 e3

4
6

3.28 e
0.3
7.8 e3

5
6

6.56 e
0.3
7.8 e3

6
7

1.31 e
0.3
7.8 e3

7
7

2.63 e
0.3
7.8 e3

8
7

5.25 e
0.3
7.8 e3

9
8

1.05 e
0.3
7.8 e3

10
8

2.10 e
0.3
7.8 e3

4.20 e8
0.3
7.8 e3

Table 5: Frame materials properties

5.2

Mobilities histogram and contrast indicator

For each of the defined models, a study of the structural contrast is done on the frequency
band [0 1000] Hz, in order to highlight the evolution of the structural contrast while the
frequency increases. A mobilities map of each model is built. Figure 9 presents mobilities
maps of the models 1, 6 and 10. These models are chosen because they allow to observe major
changes in structural contrasts.
To understand the results provided by the maps, let us introduce some parameters used in the
image theory. An image histogram is conventionally defined as the function that associates to
each intensity value the number of pixels having that value. There are several definitions of
contrast of an image. Peli [5] presents in his work a common way to define the contrast of an
image, so that the contrasts of several images can be compared. He used the root-mean-square
contrast definition presented in equation 23.
v
u
N
u 1 X
t
rms =
(xn x)2 ,
(23)
N 1 n=1
where xn is a normalized grey-level value and x is the mean normalized gray level. To characterize the structural contrast of a car, we are interested in building similar parameters based on
a mobilities map. Let us consider at each node the trace of the real part of the mobilities matrix,
corresponding to the sum of translational mobilities as defined in equation 24.
Yi = Yxi + Yyi + Yzi .

(24)

This definition allows building histograms related to mobilities maps as presented in figure 9
for models 1, 6 and 10. On such histograms, the main differences between the models appear
on the nodes having low mobilities level, and corresponding to the frame. Indeed, since the
panels have not been changed, their average mobilities remain unchanged as visible from 3
to 200 [mm/s/N]. It is also possible to notice that the more the frame is stiffened, the more low
mobilities nodes we have. Finally, we note that the windscreen properties remain unchanged,
11

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

and his mean mobility correspond to the peak near 1 [mm/s/N]. Since the firsts (more flexible)
models have more nodes with that mobilities level, it seems that the more stiff the model is, the
less nodes with that mobility level we have. To summarize:
we observe four sets of nodes with the same mean mobility level. These sets can be
attributed to zones of the maps as highlighted in figure 9;
the number of sets in the histogram (four in this case) can be used to characterized the
global behaviour of the car;
when the contrast increases (in this design case), the number of nodes in the lowest mobility set increases, the one in an intermediate set decrease and the one in the highest
mobility set remains constant.

Figure 9: Mobilities histogram of models 1, 6 and 10

To quantitatively characterize the structural contrast of the models, let us introduce the structural contrast indicator (SCI) defined as presented in the equation 25. Such an indicator is
dimensionless and consistent with the defined concept of an image contrast.
SCI =

{rms}2
.
x

(25)

Since we are interested in the dynamic behaviour of the system when the contrast increases, we
present in figure 10 the evolution of the SCI function of the frequency, in third octave average
for the models 1, 6 and 10.
The figure 10 give a dynamic structural contrast indicator on the band [200 800] Hz. The
band [0 200] Hz is indeed dominated by a modal behaviour, with resonant nodes (so very high
mobilities) somewhere and non-resonant nodes elsewhere. The structural contrast therefore has
no physical meaning on such a band.
12

M. Nobou Dassi, A. Gaudin, Z. Abbadi, L. Gagliardini, C. Pezerat and F. Gautier

Figure 10: Structural Contrast Indicator of the models function of frequency

CONCLUSIONS

This study focussed on the main consequences of changing materials in a car, in the global
context of automotive lightweight design. The new distribution of local stiffnesses due to the
introduction of orthotropic materials leads to models with different structural contrasts. This
concept has been highlighted, by using an input point mobility approach. Built mobilities maps
allowed studying the distribution of stiffness on the models, and defining a kind of characteristics mobility sets. A dynamic structural contrast indicator is proposed, consistently to the
image theory. This work is continuing in order to understand the relation between the structural
contrast and the vibroacoustic performance of a car, defined in terms displacement levels on the
structure and pressure levels in the air cavity.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank the Marie Curie Foundation which finances this research
through the GRESIMO Initial Training Network project.
REFERENCES
[1] Lothar Cremer, M. Heckl, and B. A. T. Petersson. Structure-borne sound structural vibrations and sound radiation at audio frequencies. Springer, Berlin; New York, 2005.
[2] Alain Giocosa. Les composites dans lindustrie automobile. Techniques Ingnieur, 1999.
[3] Martial Nobou Dassi and Al. Vibro-acoustic specifications and design indicators for
lightweight vehicles. International Conference on Noise and Vibration Engineering, Leuven 2014.
[4] Martial Nobou Dassi and Al. Conception vibro-acoustique de caisses autmobiles alleges :
Analyse par games de frequences et indicateurs associes. Congr`es Francais dAcoustique,
Poitiers 2014.
[5] Eli Peli. Contrast in complex images. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 7(10),
October 1990.
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