WIT Press

Automotive Space Frame Modular Door Systems For High Performance


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Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. El-Sayed, J. Townsend & M. Kaczmar


Current automotive doors are produced following the conventional stamping, hemming and assembly process. While this method is well developed and long practiced the resulting doors have a complicated assembly process and lack of good performance in critical areas such as side impact, mass, durability, noise and vibrations. This paper presents a patented space frame modular door design for ease of assembly and high level of performance for all design criteria. This primary structure is also packaging modular in the sense that it acts as a carrier for the door latch, window regulator and hinges. Side impact is usually the most difficult criteria to meet during design and development of door structures. In general, side impact collision is one of the toughest safety challenges facing the Auto Industry today. Over thirteen thousand deaths, due to side impact, occurred during 1998 in the United States alone. The main difficulty in designing for side impact collisions is the limited crush zone between the impacting vehicle and the impacted occupant. The developed space frame door system lies in the space between the outer skin of a car door and the occupant, which can be designed to be as efficient as those already standard in frontal impact. The main design objective for the space frame structural system, in this case, is to maximize energy absorption and minimize injury to the occupant. A variation in safety and structural performance of the developed door system can be achieved by integrating the structural modular door with the vehicle body, using integration system known as Door And Chassis-frame Integration Technology. The design and development of the space frame modular door system will be discussed. In addition, the five stars crash rating achieved during several side impact tests will be presented.