Powertrain Strength and Durability

A vehicle relies on numerous components and systems to run properly, but one of the most critical systems is the powertrain, which is composed of the engine and all of the components for the transmission of power to the wheel. A well-designed powertrain can improve the efficiency and performance of the vehicle, but it is a challenge for engineers to do this without having a negative impact on vehicle mass or cost.

In addition to reducing cost and time to market, engineers are presented with several other challenges in powertrain engineering. These include reducing the size and mass of the engine and its connected components, as well as designing for lower viscosity oils, direct fuel injection and increased cylinder pressure. They also aim to increase the speed and start-stop of the engine.

Simulation plays an important role in helping engineers to design a powertrain for optimal efficiency and performance, as well as in ensuring that no reliability or durability problems are caused by combustion chamber pressure, temperature, or the rotational or translational speed evolutions of the parts. Reliability, durability, efficiency, performance and safety are all elements that can be certified through simulation, which addresses them in the early stages of design and more cost-effectively than physical testing.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform connects design and simulation, opening the door for modeling and meshing automation, as well as for entire engineering process automation. The realistic simulations provide crucial information such as bore distortion, bending stiffness, load distributions, stress fields, and fatigue safety factors.

A wide range of simulation workflows are addressed by the platform, including:

  • Cylinder head gasket sealing analysis
  • Piston, exhaust manifold, cylinder block and head thermal stress analysis
  • Powertrain, exhaust system modal analysis
  • Connecting rod strength and wear resistance
  • Crankshaft or crankcase strength and stiffness
  • Crank and cylinder bore distortion

Whether it is a race car, a passenger vehicle, or a commercial truck, any vehicle with an internal combustion engine relies on a smoothly running, efficient powertrain. A powertrain is a complex system with numerous parts, so it is a particular challenge for engineers to make sure that all of those parts are working together effectively and efficiently.

With concerns about vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency being priorities for automobile manufacturers right now, better powertrain design through simulation presents an opportunity to improve upon both without sacrificing time or money. In fact, an effective simulation platform can reduce development time and cost by as much as one-third.

Much can be done in the virtual setting provided by simulation. Design improvements can be virtually prototyped to reduce or even eliminate physical test failures, and powertrain system behavior can be accurately predicted using high fidelity models. Ultimately, simulation increases confidence in product performance and reduces the risk of warranty costs and recalls.


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Fabien Letailleur

Industry Strategy Senior Consultant at Dassault Systemes Simulia Corp.
Fabien Letailleur is a Senior Consultant for the SIMULIA brand. He is focused on developing the messaging to bring SIMULIA solutions to the market within the context of Dassault Systèmes’ broader portfolio of industry solutions. In this role, he’s articulating the value of SIMULIA technology and how it can benefit a wide audience of users---from simulation experts to engineers, to decision-makers. Fabien joined Dassault Systèmes in 2007 with an FEA-oriented Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Technology in Troyes, France. He is based at SIMULIA's headquarters near Providence, RI.

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