26th January 2021 – Scientific Paper: Vibroacoustic Assessment of an Innovative Composite Material for the Roof of a Coupe Car

The objective of this paper, released in the LIFE BIOBCOMPO Project, is the vibroacoustic evaluation of an innovative material for a sports car roof, aiming at replacing fiberglass composite materials. Such evaluation was carried out using numerical and experimental analysis techniques, with cross-comparison between the corresponding results. The innovative material under analysis is a composite material, with a thermoplastic polypropylene matrix and reinforcement made of cellulose fibers. In order to validate the virtual dynamic modeling of the new material, the inertance on different points of some sheets made of the material under analysis was evaluated by an in-house made experimental activity, performed in the CRF (Fiat Research Center) test room, and cross-compared with corresponding results from a numerical analysis performed with the MSC Nastran software

Then, a realistic model of the car roof of the Alfa Romeo 4C car, made with the new material, was implemented and analyzed from the vibroacoustic point of view. The mere switch to the new material, with no changes in the geometry/structure of the car roof, did not allow preserving the original values of static rigidity, dynamic rigidity, and configuration of modal shapes. For this reason, a geometric/structural optimization of the component was performed. Once the new geometry/structure was defined, a vibroacoustic analysis was carried out, checking for a possible coupling between the fluid cavity modes and the structure car body modes. 

Finally, the vibroacoustic transfer functions to the driver’s ear node were assessed, considering two different excitation points on the structure. The excellent damping capacity of the proposed material led to an improvement in the vibroacoustic transfer functions and to a reduction in the weight of the pavilion. 

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