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Finite element aided design evolution of composite leaf spring

Hou, J.P. and Jeronimidis, G. (2005) Finite element aided design evolution of composite leaf spring. Applied Mechanics and Materials, 3-4. pp. 429-434.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.4028/


This paper shows the process of the virtual production development of the mechanical connection between the top leaf of a dual composite leaf spring system to a shackle using finite element methods. The commercial FEA package MSC/MARC has been used for the analysis. In the original design the joint was based on a closed eye-end. Full scale testing results showed that this configuration achieved the vertical proof load of 150 kN and 1 million cycles of fatigue load. However, a problem with delamination occurred at the interface between the fibres going around the eye and the main leaf body. To overcome this problem, a second design was tried using transverse bandages of woven glass fibre reinforced tape to wrap the section that is prone to delaminate. In this case, the maximum interlaminar shear stress was reduced by a certain amount but it was still higher than the material’s shear strength. Based on the fact that, even with delamination, the top leaf spring still sustained the maximum static and fatigue loads required, the third design was proposed with an open eye-end, eliminating altogether the interface where the maximum shear stress occurs. The maximum shear stress predicted by FEA is reduced significantly and a safety factor of around 2 has been obtained. Thus, a successful and safe design has been achieved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment
ID Code:12119
Uncontrolled Keywords:Composite, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Suspension System

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