The paper deals with a numerical and experimental study of the radial impact test of an automotive aluminum wheel. The final aim is the confident virtual execution of the test in view of a pervasive digitalization of the aluminum wheel production process.

A finite element based model is developed. The model includes tire, wheel, striker and supporting structure. The actual structure of the tire is modeled. Tire damping is included through a Rayleigh model. The Rayleigh’s parameters are experimentally identified. The wheel material inhomogeneity is taken into account by assigning different stress/strain curves to wheel rim and spokes. The material curves have been experimentally measured considering specimens extracted from three different regions of actual wheels. The dynamic impact test is simulated by means of a nonlinear explicit solver.

Experimental tests on an impact test bench have been realized to validate the developed model. Accelerations during the impact test are measured on the striker. The impact force at the striker is measured by two load cells. The deformation of the wheel is measured by strain gauges located at the most critical areas of the wheel rim and spokes.

A good agreement between measured and simulated quantities is obtained. An accurate model of the impact test is now available including a digital representation of the qualification process of aluminum wheels.

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