The optimisation of the energy absorption of partially Al foam-filled commercial 1050H14 and 6061T4 Al crash boxes
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Partially Alulight and Hydro Al closed-cell foam-filled commercial 1050H14 Al and 6061T4 Al crash boxes were optimised using the response surface methodology in order to maximise specific energy absorption (SEA). The quasi-static crushing of empty and filled crash boxes was simulated using LS-DYNA, and the results were further confirmed with experimental quasi-static crushing testing of empty and Alulight foam-filled commercial 1050H14 Al crash boxes. Results showed that partial foam filling of commercial crash boxes increased both SEA and mean load because of foam filler axial and lateral deformation in between the progressing folds of the crash box. Within the studied constraint range of box mean load, box wall thickness and foam filler density, the optimised Alulight and Hydro foam-filled 1050H14 and 6061T4 crash boxes resulted in 26%–40% increase in total energy absorption as compared with empty crash boxes. Considering the same weight basis, the use of a higher yield strength box wall material and higher plateau stresses of Al foam filler resulted in higher energy absorptions in partial foam-filled boxes at relatively low displacements.