Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering


Automotive suspension, Numerical performance prediction, Passenger sedan, Moulding, Lower arm







Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Using the lower arm from the front suspension of a typical passenger sedan as an example, this research explores the possibility of replacing automotive load bearing metal components with fibre reinforced plastic equivalents that could be manufactured using the injection moulding process.

To begin the study, the vehicle motion was modelled using a high fidelity multibody dynamics motion solver, under multiple different driving scenarios and road roughness levels. The time history of the suspension loads were recorded, and maximum load cases were identified and classified.

The injection moulding process was modelled using a sophisticated in-mould flow simulation software. The resulting fibre orientation distribution results have been studied and imported into a finite element model, in order to account for the anisotropic material behaviour during the stress analysis. A benchmark process was used to verify the simulation results on typical test specimens using data from the literature.

A series of static finite element analyses were conducted using the force combinations and fibre orientation results described above. The failure and plastic behaviour state is shown in the final finite element analysis results for different road levels and driving scenarios. The resulting performance of the composite lower arm is summarized and discussed as a guideline for future study and research. As a brief conclusion, the composite lower arm resulting from the injection moulding process studied in this research was predicted to have insufficient strength to safely replace the conventional aluminum lower arm, unless a dramatic geometry change or different manufacturing method is proposed.