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Shock and Vibration
Volume 2014, Article ID 303567, 9 pages
Research Article

Concept Modelling of Vehicle Joints and Beam-Like Structures through Dynamic FE-Based Methods

1Department of Mechanical, Energy and Management Engineering, University of Calabria, Ponte Pietro Bucci, 46/C, 87036 Rende, Italy
2G&G Design and Engineering, Via Gabriele Barrio, 87100 Cosenza, Italy
3Simulation Division-LMS International, Interleuvenlaan 68, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Received 28 June 2013; Accepted 7 March 2014; Published 6 July 2014

Academic Editor: Miguel M. Neves

Copyright © 2014 G. De Gaetano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents dynamic methodologies able to obtain concept models of automotive beams and joints, which compare favourably with the existing literature methods, in terms of accuracy, easiness of implementation, and computational loads. For the concept beams, the proposed method is based on a dynamic finite element (FE) approach, which estimates the stiffness characteristics of equivalent 1D beam elements using the natural frequencies, computed by a modal analysis of the detailed 3D FE model of the structure. Concept beams are then connected to each other by a concept joint, which is obtained through a dynamic reduction technique that makes use of its vibration normal modes. The joint reduction is improved through the application of a new interface beam-to-joint element, able to interpolate accurately the nodal displacements of the outer contour of the section, to obtain displacements and rotations of the central connection node. The proposed approach is validated through an application case that is typical in vehicle body engineering: the analysis of a structure formed by three spot-welded thin-walled beams, connected by a joint.