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ASDEC wins £1.4 million R&D funding to optimise hybrid structures for the automotive sector

News International-French

23 May 2016

The University of Leicester’s ASDEC – The Advanced Structural Dynamics Evaluation Centre –  facility announces that it is part of a winning bid for £1.4million R&D funding from Innovate UK working in a team with other companies to optimise hybrid structures for the automotive sector.

With low emissions and increased efficiency driving future automotive development, manufacturers are increasingly relying on using multi material (hybrid) structures to offer a cost-effective weight reduction. This will benefit both a reduction in raw materials used in production and improve vehicle efficiency.

The Hybrid Automotive Lightweight Optimisation (HALO) project will look into optimising this multi material approach to maximise the potential of each material and component within the structure of the vehicle, as opposed to the current trend of direct replacement from one material to another.

Modern composite materials can be optimised to provide the same strength for lighter weight but the reality is that there is still a disconnect between computer modelling and actual construction.

HALO aims to close that gap by analysing results from the real world and correlating them back into the virtual.

ASDEC's Robotised Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV) will be vital in analysis and correlation of what happens to these materials when used in a hybrid construction. The application of results gained are of interest to those in the modelling and design fields. New experimental measurement techniques will provide detailed information on joint structure interaction along with the repeatability and accuracy available using the Robovib system.

The end result of this project will be validated with the manufacture of a full size prototype to demonstrate how optimisation of these hybrid structures can work in real world manufacturing.

The HALO project team comprises five companies working together to deliver optimum results for future lightweight automotive materials. The companies involved are Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), FAR-UK, TWI, HPL Prototypes and ASDEC. HALO itself is part of a £38 million fund from the UK government through Innovate UK to help develop ideas and technology for cutting vehicle emissions and helping electric cars drive further.

The overall project involves more than 130 organisations – from car manufacturers, technology companies and research centres across the UK – in a wide range of projects to apply state-of-the-art automotive technology such as used in Formula 1 (F1) racing in the commercial automotive industry.

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