The control (and avoidance) of vehicle noise and vibration (NV) can provide a crucial competitive advantage for car manufacturers due to the drive for lower noise pollution levels and enhanced driving comfort. NV issues can seriously detract from the reputation of a vehicle with a knock-on detrimental effect for the entire brand.
As the automotive industry moves towards virtual prototyping, the simulation and modelling of vehicle NV is becoming increasingly important. Providing accurate numerical predictions in this area is an extremely challenging task. A detailed analysis of the structural vibrations on very fine scales is required, and small parameter changes can lead to large shifts in the frequency response function for a given vehicle. The wide range of materials and intricate couplings between different components provide enormous challenges for a full vehicle simulation, especially in the range of frequencies above 500Hz. However, robust and efficient modelling techniques are indispensable for vehicle manufacturers, dramatically cutting costs by removing the need to develop expensive physical prototypes.
The range of existing techniques addressing NV issues as part of the Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) toolkit is not adequate. The methods are not robust for frequencies over 500Hz and do not naturally fit into the simulation environment of CAE, where structural data are provided via mesh specifications. Only recently have these problems been overcome through new solution techniques developed and tested by the academic members of this project. Together with two specialized SMEs and the car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, this interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral consortium will develop the first black-box and mesh based tool for the vibro-acoustic analysis of a full vehicle body. This will catapult noise and vibration analysis from the research and development stage to a fast and reliable everyday tool for the engineering practitioner.