Year of Publication


Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

O. J. Hahn


Multi-piece wheels or rims used on large vehicles such as trucks, tractors, trailers, buses and off-road machines have often been known for their dangerous properties because of the large number of catastrophic accidents involving them. The main causes for these accidents range from dislocation of the rim components in the assembly, mismatch of the components, manufacturing tolerances, corrosion of components to tires. A finite element analysis of a two-piece rim design similar to one manufactured by some of the prominent rim manufacturers in the USA is undertaken. A linear static deformation analysis is performed with the appropriate loading and boundary conditions. The dislocation of the side ring with respect to the rim base and its original designer intent position is established using simulation results from ANSYS and actual rim failure cases. Reliability of the multi-piece rims is analyzed using the failure data provided by the rim manufacturers in connection with a lawsuit (Civil Action No. 88-C-1374). The data was analyzed using MINITAB. The effect of an OSHA standard (1910.177) on servicing multi-piece rims was studied for change in failure patterns of different rims. The hazard functions were plotted and failure rates were calculated for each type of rim. The failure rates were found to be increasing suggesting that the standard had minimal effect on the accidents and failures. The lack of proper service personnel training and design defects were suggested as the probable reasons for the increasing failure rates.