Lightweight design of control arm combining load path analysis and biological characteristics

  • Fenghe Wu School of Mechanical Engineering, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao, China
  • Zhaohua Wang School of Mechanical Engineering, Taiyuan University of Science and Technology, Taiyuan, China
  • Dezhuang Song School of Mechanical Engineering, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao, China
  • Hui Lian School of Mechanical Engineering, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao, China
Keywords: Control arm;, Bionic design;, Load path analysis;, Lightweight


The existing bionic design methods are based on the similarity theory, but it is difficult to find a bionic prototype with high similarity for the control arm. In this paper, a design method combining load path analysis and biological characteristics is proposed to realize the lightweight of control arm. The load path is used to visualize the load-transferred law in structure and identify the load-bearing performance. Then, the structural improvement suggestions are given and a new control arm with the coupling load of bending moment and pressure is established. Then, the cross-section of wheat-stalk is selected as the cross-section of control arm from four kinds of plants including Bamboo, Wheat-stalk, Juncus, Brazilian Horsetail because of its good bending-resistance and torsion-resistance. The bionic model is designed and the mechanical performance is analyzed and verified by Finite Element Analysis. The results show that the stiffness and strength of the control arm are improved by 65.6% and 22.5% respectively, and its weight is reduced by 32.7%, which show the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed method.


Cai, K. & Shi, J. (2010) A bionic approach for topology optimization for tension-only or compression-only design, Journal of Bionic Engineering. 7(4), 397-404.

Cheng, L., Bai, J.X. & To, A.C. (2019) Functionally graded lattice structure topology optimization for the design of additive manufactured components with stress constraints, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 344, 334-359.

Dong, Y.J. & Zhu, G.W. (2016) Mechanical analysis and bionic structure design of astronautic payloads based on natural honeycomb, Journal of Astronautics. 37, 262-267. /I3/262

Kakoty, N.M. & Hazarika, S.M. (2013) A biomimetic similarity index for prosthetic hands, In Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies, Singapore, 32-39.

Heo, S.J., Kang, D.O., Lee, J.H., Kim, I.H. & Darwish, S.M.H. (2013). Shape optimization of lower control arm considering multi-disciplinary constraint condition by using progress meta-model method. International Journal of Automotive Technology, 14(3), 499-505.

Pejhan, K., Kuznetcov, A., Wang, Q.G., Wu, C.Q., & Telichev, Igor. (2017). Design assessment of a multiple passenger vehicle component using load transfer index (U*) method. International journal of mechanics & materials in design. 14(2), 1-17.

Suzuki, T., Fukushige, S. & Tsunori, M. (2020) Load path visualization and fiber trajectory optimization for additive manufacturing of composites, Additive Manufacturing. 2020, 31:100942. addma.2019.100942

Takahashi, K. (1986) Relative rigidity of structures and Saint Venant's principle. Transactions of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers Series A. 52, 2615-21.

Takahashi, K., Omiya, M., Iso, T., Zaiki, Y., Sakurai, T., Maki, T., Urushiyama, Y. & Naito, T. (2013). Load transfer ustar (U*) calculation in structures under dynamic loading. Transactions of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, 79(807), 1657-1668.

Viqaruddina, M. & Ramana R.D. (2017). Structural optimization of control arm for weight reduction and improved performance. Materials today: proceedings, 4(8), 9230-9236. 2017.07.282

Wang, C.Y., Li, Y., Zhao, W.Z., Zou, S.C., Zhou, G. & Wang, Y.L. (2018) Structure design and multi-objective optimization of a novel crash box based on biomimetic structure, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences. 138, 489-501.

Yoo, S.H., Doh, J. & Lim, J. (2017). Topologically optimized shape of CFRP front lower control ARM. International Journal of Automotive Technology, 18(4), 625-630.

Wang, Q.G., Pejhan, K., Telichev, I., Wu, C.Q. (2018) Demonstration of the effectiveness of U*-based design criteria on vehicle structural design. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part D Journal of Automobile Engineering, 232(8), 995-1002.

Waldron, D. & Harwood J. (2010) A study of the relationship between bending rigidity and the ease of decortication of flax straw. Journal of Natural Fibers, 7(1), 42-60. 3579226

Wang, Z.H., Wu, N., Wang, Q.G., Li, Y.X., Yang, Q.W. & Wu, F.H. (2020) Novel bionic design method for skeleton structures based on load path analysis. Applied sciences. 8251(10), 1-17. 10228251

Wang, Z.H., Wang Q.G., Wu, N., Guo, BS. & Wu F.H. (2021) Structural improvement of vehicle component based on the load path and load distribution analysis. International Journal of Automotive Technology. 22, 787-798.

Zhang, T.C., Wang, A.L., Wang, Q.S. & Guan, F.R. (2019) Bending characteristics analysis and lightweight design of a bionic beam inspired by bamboo structures, Thin-Walled Structures. 142, 476-498. 10.1016/j.tws.2019.04.043

Zhang, Z.F., Chen, R., Xu Z.M., He, Y.S. & Li, W. (2017) Research on multi-objective topology optimization of vehicle suspension control arm. Journal of mechanical engineering, 53(04), 114-121. (in chinese) https:// 10.3901/JME.2017.04.114

Zhao, L., Ma, J., Chen, W., & Guo, H. (2011) Lightweight design and verification of gantry machining center crossbeam based on structural bionics, Journal of Bionic Engineering. 8, 201-206. S1672-6529 (11)60021-8

How to Cite
Wu, F., Wang, Z., Song, D., & Lian, H. (2022). Lightweight design of control arm combining load path analysis and biological characteristics. Reports in Mechanical Engineering, 3(1), 71-82.