Light-weighting of automotive and aerospace transport
Submitting InstitutionOxford Brookes University
Unit of AssessmentGeneral Engineering
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Engineering: Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Engineering
Summary of the impact
The automotive and aerospace industries are keen to reduce their
environmental impact and so have looked to move to lightweight materials.
This creates issues in terms of joining, using and disposing of dissimilar
materials. Oxford Brookes has therefore worked with national and multi-national
companies in the adhesive, materials, automotive and aerospace
industries to try to solve these problems. This has resulted in high
quality research publications, innovative test equipment, improved
numerical methods, novel designs, design guidelines, manufacturing
procedures, British Standards, patents, commercial products and further
funding. The impact of the work has global safety, environmental and
economic benefits with multi-national aerospace and automotive companies
implementing the results in current developments.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at
Oxford Brookes University has been working on the use of novel materials
in the automotive and transport sector for over 20 years. The issues with
using lightweight materials is multi-faceted and departmental researchers
such as Professor Alec Beavers, Professor Allan Hutchinson, Professor John
Durodola, Professor Denise Morrey, Dr James Broughton, Dr Neil Fellows and
Dr Patricia Winfield have looked at material design, joint design, end of
life recycling, fatigue performance and noise, vibration and harshness
The DTI funded LIVEMAN and PAJ projects and EU funded DOGMA project
provided the base for the current work on developing lightweight
components. The LIVEMAN project looked at the effect of adhesive modulus
on the torsional stiffness of automotive vehicles  and the DOGMA
project  developed guidelines on the use of hybrid materials, via a
network of 26 European partners. One of the key contributions from Oxford
Brookes was the dissemination of research, done by Oxford Brookes, on the
LIVEMAN project (22 industrial reports, two conference papers and three
journal papers) and from the PAJ project (adhesive bonding test methods).
This work led to a Jaguar Land Rover funded project to improve the
prediction of joint performance of automotive structures under crash
conditions. This project ended in 2008 but due to confidentiality the
first publication in the International Journal of Vehicle Structures &
Systems did not appear till 2011.
An effect of using lightweight materials in vehicle structures is that
NVH transmission become more significant. An EPSRC funded project was
therefore undertaken to develop lightweight components with good NVH
properties . A key issue with developing NVH components is the
numerical time required to carry out predictive modelling. To overcome
this a one-sided, first order Arnoldi based Model Order Reduction (MOR)
method has been developed . This showed one order of magnitude
improvement in solution times as well as an improvement in error levels.
In addition a new novel joint design called the reverse bent joint was
developed. These joints have significantly higher failure strengths and
have been shown to provide significant improvements in fatigue performance
. The papers on the reverse bent joint and Arnoldi based Model Order
Reduction (MOR) method have been well cited due to their novelty.
In aerospace applications the approach required is very different to the
automotive sector as the use of high cost composite materials is more
viable and more complex joints can be developed. The NOTS project
developed innovative composite frame designs for supporting lightweight
struts . Additionally the safe design of bolted hybrid joints  and
fuel sealant performance have been investigated.
A key concern using hybrid materials is the difficulty in recycling the
materials due to the problem of separating and sorting the different
materials from one another. To help with this issue work has been carried
out in defining the problem and a network formed  to help develop
guidelines for the whole life design on vehicles.
References to the research
 N A Fellows, A Harris, J F Durodola and A Beevers, 'Effects of design
and adhesive modulus on the torsional stiffness of automotive structures',
Proc. of the IMechE, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering, Vol. 222,
No 8., pp 1421-1428, 2008, DOI: 10.1243/09544070JAUTO510.
 Principal Investigator: Professor Alec Beavers
`Design Optimisation and Guidelines for Multi-material Applications'
BRITE/EURAM3, BRRT-CT97-5029,1997-2000, £907k. http://ec.europa.eu/research/brite-eu/thematic/html/2-1-08.html
 Principal Investigator: Professor John Durodola
EPSRC GR/S27245/01 `Design and Fabrication of Low NVH Multi Material
Automotive Vehicle Structures' 1997-2000, £371,897.
 R. S. Puri, D. Morrey et al. Reduced order fully coupled
structural-acoustic analysis via implicit moment matching. J. Applied
Mathematical Modelling, Volume 33, Issue 11, pp 4097-4119, November 2009,
Submitted to REF2014, Oxford Brookes University, UoA15-General
Engineering, D Morrey, REF2, Output identifier 7902
 G Fessel, J G Broughton, N A Fellows, J F Durodola, A R Hutchinson
Fatigue performance of metallic reverse-bent joints', Fatigue and Fract
Engng Mater Struct, Vol. 32, pp 704-712, 2009, DOI:
Submitted to REF2014, Oxford Brookes University, UoA15-General
Engineering, AR Hutchinson, REF2, Output identifier 8096
 Principal Investigator: Dr James Broughton
DTI `Nodal Optimization of Truss Structures' (NOTS), 2003-2006, £400k
 F Rosales-Iriarte, N A Fellows and J F Durodola (2012), `Failure
prediction in carbon composites subjected to Bearing versus Bypass
Loading', Journal of Composite Materials, Vol. 46, pp 1859-1878, 2012,
Submitted to REF2014, Oxford Brookes University, UoA15-General
Engineering, NA Fellows, REF2, Output identifier 7794
 Principal Investigator: Professor Allan Hutchinson
`Network for the design for dismantling, reuse & recycling in road
vehicles' (DRIVENet), EPSRC GR/S87577/01, 2004-2007, £62,493.
Details of the impact
The DOGMA project brought together industry, research institutes and
universities to collaborate and exchange ideas. Procedures were developed
for multi-material structures that looked at joint design, material
development, life cycle analysis, recycling and clean manufacture. Several
industrial case studies were prepared by ADTRANZ, BAE Systems,
FY-Composites, IDMEC, Adtranz, Hoogovens, Neste and INASMET to show how
well the procedures worked. A special conference,'technology' days and
promotion online were used for dissemination. Enquires related to the
DOGMA project were still being taken up to 2010 and a current website with
all the case studies is still accessible to companies .
The success of the DOGMA project and the LIVEMAN project fed into the
development of the Adhesives Toolkit. TWI, one of the LIVEMAN and DOGMA
partners, led this work which was sponsored by the DTI. This toolkit
incorporated the work developed by Brookes to provide software that could
advise industry in selecting and designing adhesive joints. The rationale
behind the toolkit was to ensure a consistent approach to adhesive joint
design to improve the competitiveness of UK industry . This toolkit
was updated in 2006 and is currently well used with active news and forum
The NVH project built on the work of DOGMA and LIVEMAN by investigating
the feasibility of replacing conventional metal panels and damping
materials with single-piece composite panels. The work was supported by
five companies (Bi Composites Ltd, Crompton Tech. Group Ltd, Ford Motor Co
Ltd, Oxford Magnet Tech. Ltd and Salex Acoustic Materials) across
different industrial sectors who were interested in the design and
manufacture of composites and their acoustic performance. The main
outcomes of the project were:
A new design of adhesive joint that is easy to implement and increased
joint strength by 40% and fatigue life by 100% when compared with
conventional lap joints.
The design and manufacture of an acoustically improved polypropylene glass
filled roof to fit a Ford van.
The first application of the Arnoldi-based MOR method to
structural-acoustic problems .
Siemens Hydropower used the technique developed to deal with structural
acoustic problems to develop a model of a hydropower turbine for which a
paper was presented at the 2009 International Conference on Theoretical
and Computational Acoustics.
Through the "High Strain Rate Modelling of Adhesively Bonded Joints"
project an epoxy adhesive that was used extensively in Jaguar vehicles was
characterised for use in impact studies. This part of the work was
particularly successful and the materials data generated from this project
are used currently by Jaguar Land Rover as their standard for epoxy based
adhesives in Finite Element analyses of bonded vehicle structures .
The NOTS project succeeded in producing a patented 2D CFRP truss
structure modelled on an Airbus No17 wing rib which resulted in a weight
saving greater than 33%  and has been cited in 6 further patents. A
website was also created to share good practice between the partners and
articles written for magazines. A follow on project (ACTS, Advanced
Composite Truss Structures) looking at developing 3D trusses won the JEC
Composites 2011 Innovation Award.
The Bamboo bike project which came out of the cycling passion of staff
combined with their expertise in composite joint design lead to a fully
certified bike design. The design has had a patent application filed and
has been commercialised, with an outside company, RAW Bamboo,
manufacturing the bicycles on license .
Test apparatus for determining bearing versus bypass failure and for
testing aircraft sealants were developed for Airbus (UK) ltd. The results
from the bearing versus bypass testing showed that current methods
employed by Airbus in terms of final failure are conservative. Loss of
fuel from aircraft wings is environmentally damaging, mainly due to the
additional weight of the fuel and aircraft required to account for the
loss. A unique test method was developed that provides a standardised
method for testing sealants with traditional and composite materials that
was not achievable before .
The DRIVENet project sought to develop a network focussed on material
waste reduction at vehicle end of life. The success of this can be seen in
the growth of the network to more than 300+ partners. Stannah stairlifts
have applied the design guidelines developed through the DRIVENet project
to improve the environmental impact of their products and have now
incorporated the guidelines into their operating procedures . Oxford
Brookes have also been involved in developing national standards for
designing for end of life .
A follow on project that has started is the TARF- LCV (Towards
Affordable, Closed-Loop Recyclable Future Low Carbon Vehicle Structures).
Oxford Brookes is looking at active disbonding and design to reduce end of
life recycling problems. This project involves three Universities and five
major car companies .
Sources to corroborate the impact
 Website showing guidelines and procedures developed through DOGMA.
 Links to Adhesive Design Toolkit website (showing connection to
LIVEMAN and PAJ projects)
 One of the authors who highlights the novelty of MOR approach
Y.-T. Li, Z Bai et al., A Structured Quasi-Arnoldi procedure for model
order reduction of second-order systems, Linear Algebra Appl. (2011), DOI:
 Corroborative statement author 1. Letter from Technical Specialist —
Crashworthiness CAE, Jaguar Land Rover - Aug 2013
"the materials data generated from this project are used by Jaguar Land
Rover as our standard for epoxy based adhesives in Finite Element analyses
of bonded vehicle structures."
 International patent application: WO2006061617 (A1)
Title: Composite Truss Structures
Publication Date: 15th June 2006
Further Patents citing this one US2012082547 (A1), US2012082555(A1),
US2009196758(A1), US2009196757(A1), US2009191063(A1), US2007217918(A1).
 International patent application: WO2013017872 (A1)
Title: Method of joining ligneous materials and products made by the
Publication Date: 7th Feb 2013
 Research paper written with Surface Technology,Materials and
Processes - EDSWBU, AIRBUS UK, Filton (Corroborative statement author 3)
"model sealed system (MSS), was developed under contract to Airbus UK to
undertake the full range of test parameters for the evaluation of sealants
for current and future aircraft."
 Corroborative statement author 3. Letter from Joint Managing
Director Stannah Stairlifts — Oct 2013.
"apply the design guidelines developed .. to improve the environmental
impact of our products and we have now incorporated the LCA guideline into
our operating procedures."
 Brookes Investigators: Prof D Morrey, Prof A Hutchinson, Dr P
Winfield EPSRC EP/I038616/1, `Towards Affordable, Closed-Loop Recyclable
Future Low Carbon Vehicle Structures - TARF-LCV' 2011-2015, £ 4,221,482.