Analysis and design improvement on structural rigidity of automobile wheel using Finite Element Analysis

An automobile wheel plays a vital role in supporting the vehicle’s tyre and the entire weight of any vehicle, and that it should be lightweight to provide improvised fuel economy and unsprung weight. Therefore, it is imperative that the structural rigidity of an automobile wheel need to be analysed and improvised, whilst also taking lightweight materials into account as well. The objective of this research is to examine the distribution of deformation, stress and safety factor across five-spoke and multi-spoke wheel designs whilst varying lightweight materials, as well as understand how these parameters impact the structural rigidity of the wheel. Besides, the research is aimed at improving the base designs of the wheel so that they reach an optimum level. The wheel models to be investigated will be modelled using SolidWorks. They will be imported into Analysis System (ANSYS), which is a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software whereby aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys will be assigned. From there, mesh independence test will be conducted to determine the suitable mesh size for the wheel models. In addition, the structural rigidity of the wheel models will be analysed by conducting static structural and fatigue life analyses. Changes in total deformation and Von-misses stress will be obtained from the static structural analysis, whilst safety factor and fatigue life cycle will be obtained from the fatigue life analysis. These results will be compiled and tabulated in figures and tables before being compared with approximately similar published data. Improvisation of the wheel models by making necessary modifications to the base designs will minimise weak-points on them, hence making them more rigid. It is expected that greater loading applied onto the wheel will increase the stress concentrated at the outer edges of the wheel. Besides, it is anticipated that the improvised wheel designs should have additional material added at the aforementioned edges, and reduced material at regions with lower stress concentration to minimise cost difference. This research will provide more understanding about the effects of lightweight materials and wheel geometries on the structural rigidity of the wheel. Therefore, the future recommendation could be focused more on including transient analysis in the automobile wheel design.