Software Allows Designers to Compare Material Specs for Automotive ApplicationsJune 1, 2013
WorldAutoSteel and the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, have unveiled a new software tool that enables vehicle designers to quickly and accurately evaluate material-selection tradeoffs. The Design Advisor software, developed by Dr. Don Malen of the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, will help engineers understand how material decisions affect vehicle mass, cost, fuel economy and environmental impact.
“Since these criteria are not easily combined as a single objective number, the engineer must be presented with potential effects on mass, cost and emissions so that appropriate tradeoffs can be evaluated and selected,” says Malen. “Design Advisor provides the ability to evaluate various materials at a vehicle-system level.”
Since material decisions often are made early in the vehicle-design cycle, the software is configured to operate with only the information available in the vehicle-planning stage. The mathematical models used in Design Advisor draw from the research and findings of several projects supported by SMDI, the Auto/Steel Partnership, WorldAutoSteel and United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC.Along with a complete version of Design Advisor, engineers may download a user guide and case-study examples demonstrating the software’s functionality and use. One case study we spied on the WorldAutoSteel website compares seat frames of stamped steel and die-cast magnesium. View that case study, and download the Design Advisor software, at www.worldautosteel.org/projects/design-advisor.