CAE study on PLEXIGLAS® for vehicle glazing

Lightweight PLEXIGLAS® offers great potential for glazing in present-day vehicle construction beyond its current areas of use. However, automotive manufacturers impose strict safety requirements for the materials used in vehicle windows. Evonik commissioned TECOSIM to study a PLEXIGLAS® test workpiece  in collaboration with the Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences' Institute for Mechanics and Materials Research (IMM). This project verified whether the material would meet strict requirements in the event of an accident. TECOSIM will be presenting different test objects and informing attendees about the findings at SIMVEC.

An FE model which TECOSIM created with the aid of the TEC|BENCH process provided the basis for the CAE validation study on PLEXIGLAS®

PLEXIGLAS®, Evonik's brand-name PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), is already being used extensively in vehicles - for example, as a transparent cover for tachometers or as a non-transparent material in pillar trims and in spoilers. Evonik also sees potential for its product in vehicle window glazing. The material is up to 50 percent lighter than mineral glass and therefore provides a way of reducing weight considerably. To prove this is the case, Evonik commissioned TECOSIM to carry out a CAE validation study in collaboration with the Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences' Institute for Mechanics and Materials Research (IMM).

Material behaviour is critical in the event of an accident

How do the new PLEXIGLAS® types behave in response to an impact on a side window? This question formed the starting point for the study. The results obtained from the hardware tests on a fixed side window were incorporated into the compilation of a material card. Based on the established material characteristics, the IMM extended the existing material model to include new expertise on behaviour patterns. The subsequent crash simulations at TECOSIM permitted the values to be compared with the hardware tests until they finally showed an excellent correlation. This method ensures that there are no unpleasant surprises during physical tests on a vehicle prototype after everything has appeared fine during simulation on the computer.

As part of the project, TECOSIM provided Evonik with data generated in a TEC|BENCH model to produce test workpieces and also used the existing model for the subsequent simulation. This reduced the time and costs for the project significantly. If this had not been the case, Evonik would have needed to carry out laborious research to obtain information on the form, material strength and mount outline for producing test workpieces and the TECOSIM team would have needed to produce a completely new simulation model.

The findings from the CAE validation study form a solid basis to allow PLEXIGLAS® to enter into talks with automotive manufacturers to extend the use of their products. The results also show that there are other possible uses outside the automotive industry.

At its booth at SIMVEC, TECOSIM will present exhibits from the study and provide information on the background and procedure.