Modeling of Multibody Dynamics in Formula SAE Vehicle Suspension Systems
2020-05-08T19:17:28Z (GMT) by
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis student team Jaguar has been participating in the electric Formula SAE (FSAE) vehicle competitions in the past few years. There is an urgent need to develop a design tool for improving the performance of the vehicle. In this thesis, multibody dynamics (MBD) models have been developed which allow the student team to improve their vehicle design, while reducing the required time and actual testing costs. Although there were some studies about MBD analyses for vehicles in literature, a detailed modeling study of key parameters is still missing. Specifically, the effect of suspension system on the vehicle performance is not well studied.
The objective of the thesis is to develop an MBD based model to improve the FSAE vehicle’s performance. Based on the objective and knowledge gap, the following research tasks are proposed: (1) MBD modeling of current suspension systems; (2) Modification of suspension systems, and (3) Evaluation of performance of modified suspension systems.
The models for the front suspension system, rear suspension system, and full assembly are created, and a series of MBD analyses are conducted. The parameters of the vehicle by conducting virtual tests on the suspension model and overall vehicle model are studied. In this work, two main virtual tests are performed. First, parallel wheel travel test on suspension system, in which the individual suspension system is subject to equal force on both sides. The test helps understand the variation in stability parameters, such as camber angle, toe angle, motion ratio, and roll center location. Second, skid-pad test on full assembly of the vehicle. The test assists in understanding the vehicle’s behavior in constant radius cornering and the tire side slip angle variation, as it is one of the important parameters controlling alignment of the vehicle in this test.
Based on the vehicle’s dynamics knowledge obtained from the existing vehicle, a modified version of the FSAE vehicle is proposed, which can provide a better cornering performance with minimum upgrades and cost possible. Based on the results from the parallel wheel travel test and skid-pad test, the lateral load transfer method is used to control the vehicle slip, by making changes to the geometry of the vehicle and obtaining appropriate roll center height for both front and rear suspension system. The results show that the stiffness in front suspension system and rear suspension system are controlled by manipulating roll center height. This study has provided insightful understanding of the parameters and forces involved in suspension system and their variations in different events influencing vehicle stability. Moreover, the MBD approach developed in this work can be readily extended to other commercial vehicles and sports vehicles.