Thin walled axial members are typically used in vehicles’ side and front chassis to improve crashworthiness. Extensive work has been done in exploring energy absorbing characteristics of thin walled structural members under axial compressive loading. The present study is a continuation of the work presented earlier on evaluating the effects of presence of functionally graded cellular structures in thin walled members. A functionally graded aluminum cellular core in compact form was placed inside a steel square tube. The crushing behavior was modeled using ABAQUS/Explicit module. The variables affecting the energy absorbing characteristics, for example, deformation or collapsing modes, crushing/ reactive force, plateau stress level, and energy curves, were studied. An approximate 35% increase in the energy absorption capacity of steel tube was observed by adding aluminum graded cellular structure to the square tube. The aluminum graded structure crushed systematically in a layered manner and its presence as core supported the steel square tube side walls in transverse direction and postponed the local (tube) wall collapse. This resulted in composite tube undergoing larger localized folds as compared to highly compact localized folds, which appeared in the steel tube without any graded core. The variation in deformation mode resulted in increased stiffness of the composite structure, and therefore, high energy absorption by the structure. Further, a relatively constant crushing force was observed in the composite tube promoting lower impulse. This aspect has a potential to be exploited to improve the crashworthiness of automobile structures.

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