Chassis Torsional Stiffness

In this example, finite element analysis was used to calculate the torsional stiffness of a Formula Ford chassis and determine the effect of changing various parameters such as floor material and gearbox bellhousing thickness.

The chassis was modelled using 2d shell elements, while engine, bellhousing and gearbox were modelled with 3d elements. These components were included since they form a structural part of the chassis.

Suspension members were also modelled because constraints were applied to the front wheel hubs as per the actual physical test that was being replicated. Loads were applied through a lever arm attached to the rear of the gearbox.

Results showed that having a structural floor significantly increased torsional stiffness, regardless of the material being used. It also highlighed the deformation that was occuring at the shock absorber mounts and bellcrank mount of the front suspension, which resulted in a lower apparent torsional stiffness. Increasing stiffness in these areas would provide a higher torsional stiffness value for this test procedure.

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