Study of Vehicle Dynamics with Planar Suspension Systems (PSS)
Zhu, Jian Jun
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The suspension system of a vehicle is conventionally designed such that the spring-damper element is configured in the vertical direction, and the longitudinal connection between the vehicle chassis and wheels is always very stiff compared to the vertical one. This mechanism can isolate vibrations and absorb shocks efficiently in the vertical direction but cannot attenuate the longitudinal impacts caused by road obstacles. In order to overcome such a limitation, a planar suspension system (PSS) is proposed. This novel vehicle suspension system has a longitudinal spring-damper strut between the vehicle chassis and wheel. The dynamic performance, including ride comfort, pitch dynamics, handling characteristics and total dynamic behaviour, of a mid-size passenger vehicle equipped with such planar suspension systems is thoroughly investigated and compared with those of a conventional vehicle. To facilitate this investigation, various number of vehicle models are developed considering the relative longitudinal motions of wheels with respect to the chassis. A 4-DOF quarter-car model is used to conduct a preliminary study of the ride quality, and a pitch plane half-car model is employed to investigate the pitch dynamics in both the frequency and time domain. A 5-DOF yaw plane single-track half-car model along with a pitch plane half-car model is proposed to carry out the handling performance study, and also an 18-DOF full-car model is used to perform total dynamics study. In addition to these mathematical models, virtual full-car models are constructed in Adams/car to validate the proposed mathematical models. For the sake of prediction of the tire-ground interaction force, a radial-spring tire model is modified by adding the tire damping to generate the road excitation forces due to road disturbances in the vertical and longitudinal directions. A dynamic 2D tire friction model based on the LuGre friction theory is modified to simulate the dynamic frictional interaction in the tire-ground contact pitch. The ride quality of a PSS vehicle is evaluated in accordance with the ISO 2631 and compared with that of a conventional vehicle. It is shown that the PSS system exhibits good potential to attenuate the impact and isolate the vibration due to road excitations in both the vertical and longitudinal directions, resulting in improved vehicles’ ride and comfort quality. The relatively soft longitudinal strut can absorb the longitudinal impact and, therefore, can protect the components. The investigation of handling performance including the steady-state handling characteristics, transient and frequency responses in various scenarios demonstrates that the PSS vehicle is directionally stable and generally has comparable handling behaviour to a similar conventional vehicle. The application of PSS in vehicles can enhance the understeer trend, i.e. the understeer becomes more understeer, neutral steer becomes slightly understeer, and oversteer becomes less oversteer. The total dynamic behaviour combining the bounce, pitch, roll and the longitudinal dynamics under various scenarios such as differential brake-in-turn and asymmetric obstacle traversing was thoroughly investigated. Simulation results illustrate that the PSS vehicle has a relatively small roll angle in a turning manoeuvre. In some cases such as passing road potholes, the PSS vehicle has a better directional stability.