Cans can be prepared into automotive collision energy absorbing materials

The reporter learned from Hunan University on July 27 that the scientific research team of Professor Hou Shujuan of the university reported that the use of waste cans as raw materials to realize the composite of cans and PU foam through a simple and efficient preparation method, and obtained an energy-absorbing composite structure with ultra-high specific energy absorption, which has the advantages of low cost, easy preparation and sustainability.

This is the deformation mode of the composite energy-absorbing material prepared by the team under quasi-static loading. Photo courtesy of interviewee

The first author of the paper is Chen Jianbo, a doctoral student at the State Key Laboratory of Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Automotive Bodies of Hunan University, and the corresponding author is Hou Shujuan. Collaborators also include Associate Professors Liu Wenyang and Mao Yiqi of Hunan University and Eric Li, Associate Professor of Teesside University in the United Kingdom.

Safety, environmental protection and energy saving are the three major themes of automobile development. As a typical thin-walled component, if it can be recycled and used for collision energy-absorbing structure design, it can not only extend the service life of cans, but also meet the environmental protection requirements of low-carbon preparation, and also meet the theme of automobile development. The research on solid waste recycling has important environmental significance and application value.

The study shows the technical roadmap for extending the service life and cycle of cans and the preparation process of ultra-high specific energy-absorbing composite structures. The experimental results show that the density of foam affects the transformation of the deformation mode, and different deformation modes have an important impact on energy absorption. There is a coupling effect between the different materials in the specimen, which can significantly improve the energy absorption capacity of the structure.

In this study, a specimen buckled by Concertina pattern under quasi-static load was selected as a representative specimen, and a dynamic impact experimental study was carried out. Due to the unique structural characteristics of the can, the results show that the first dynamic plastic buckling folding lobes all occur in the transition region of the can body, and trigger the structure to produce progressive plastic buckling with low impact force. Another result shows the detailed crushing process of the specimen at different impact velocities, which can achieve a stable deformation pattern with regular pleated lobes, which is very beneficial for energy absorption.

In addition, the deformation mode of the specimen in different directions after impact was shown, and no failure phenomena such as fracture in the folded lobe were found, and the specimen could be crushed and deformed in the stable mode of the concertina-like pattern. The results fully show that the can material has excellent toughness and impact resistance, which further proves its application prospect in the field of collision energy absorption.

Compared with other typical energy-absorbing materials, the composite structure has significant advantages in terms of specific energy absorption and crushing force efficiency, showing excellent energy-absorbing characteristics. Its specific energy absorption performance is better than other typical energy absorption devices, tubular structures (metal materials and fiber reinforced composites), metamaterials and advanced biological materials.

This study fully proves that the low-cost composite structure prepared based on solid waste materials has ultra-high specific energy absorption and excellent impact resistance, because its main material comes from waste cans, the composite structure has the advantages of large-scale preparation, and has broad application prospects in the field of collision energy absorption. At the same time, the study also provides a new way to recycle used cans, with important positive environmental, engineering and social benefits.

The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. (Source: Wang Haohao, China Science News)

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