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Research Papers

Energy Absorption of Thin-Walled Square Tubes With a Prefolded Origami Pattern—Part I: Geometry and Numerical Simulation

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhong You

e-mail: zhong.you@eng.ox.ac.uk
Department of Engineering Science,
University of Oxford,
Parks Road,
Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received September 21, 2012; final manuscript received March 5, 2013; accepted manuscript posted May 7, 2013; published online August 22, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Glaucio H. Paulino.

J. Appl. Mech 81(1), 011003 (Aug 22, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: JAM-12-1454; doi: 10.1115/1.4024405 History: Received September 21, 2012; Revised March 05, 2013; Accepted May 07, 2013

Thin-walled tubes subjected to axial crushing have been extensively employed as energy absorption devices in transport vehicles. Conventionally, they have a square or rectangular section, either straight or tapered. Dents are sometimes added to the surface in order to reduce the initial buckling force. This paper presents a novel thin-walled energy absorption device known as the origami crash box that is made from a thin-walled tube of square cross section whose surface is prefolded according to a developable origami pattern. The prefolded surface serves both as a type of geometric imperfection to lower the initial buckling force and as a mode inducer to trigger a collapse mode that is more efficient in terms of energy absorption. It has been found out from quasi-static numerical simulation that a new collapse mode referred to as the completed diamond mode, which features doubled traveling plastic hinge lines compared with those in conventional square tubes, can be triggered, leading to higher energy absorption and lower peak force than those of conventional ones of identical weight. A parametric study indicates that for a wide range of geometric parameters the origami crash box exhibits predictable and stable collapse behavior, with an energy absorption increase of 92.1% being achieved in the optimum case. The origami crash box can be stamped out of a thin sheet of material like conventional energy absorption devices without incurring in-plane stretching due to the developable surface of the origami pattern. The manufacturing cost is comparable to that of existing thin-walled crash boxes, but it absorbs a great deal more energy during a collision.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) A module of the origami pattern, (b) a module of the origami crash box, (c) a quarter of the origami pattern partially folded, and (d) a conventional square tube

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Fig. 2

Material engineering stress–strain curve

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Fig. 3

(a) Crushing process of A0, and (b) PEEQ contour maps of A0

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Fig. 4

Force versus displacement curves of A0 and A1_1

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Fig. 5

(a) Crushing process of A1_1, and (b) PEEQ contour maps of A1_1

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Fig. 6

Crushed configurations of (a) A1_2, (b) A1_3, (c) A1_4, (d) A1_5, (e) A2_1, (f) A2_4, (g) A2_5, (h) A3_1, (i) A3_4, (j) A4_1, (k) A4_2, and (l) A5_1

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Fig. 8

(a) Normalized mean crushing force versus dihedral angle curves, (b) normalized mean crushing force versus number of modules curves, (c) normalized peak force versus dihedral angle curves, (d) normalized peak force versus number of modules curves, and (e) length of stationary plastic hinge lines versus number of modules curves of A1_1–A5_1

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Fig. 9

Force versus displacement curves of A1_1, A1_2 and A1_3

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Fig. 10

Force versus displacement curves of A1_1, A2_1 and A3_1

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Fig. 11

Crushed configurations of A1_1 (a) subjected to dynamic loading, (b) assigned to high strength steel, (c) assigned to aluminum alloy, (d) subjected to free-free boundary conditions, and (e) subjected to fixed-fixed boundary conditions

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