Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Purdue method shows promise for improving auto suspensions

10.11.2005


Mechanical engineers at Purdue University have demonstrated a new method for analyzing the components of automotive suspension systems in work aimed at improving the performance, reducing the weight and increasing the durability of suspensions.



The researchers have demonstrated that their method can be used to show precisely how a part’s performance is changed by damage and also how its changing performance affects other parts in the suspension.

Findings are detailed in a paper being presented Wednesday (Nov. 9) during the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Orlando, Fla. The conference is sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


The approach represents a potential change in how automotive suspension systems will be designed in the future, said Douglas E. Adams, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who is leading the research.

"The way it’s done now is that each of the parts making up the suspension are manufactured to be as rugged as possible," Adams said. "Usually, different suppliers provide the different components, and what they do as good suppliers is optimize the strength and durability of their component.

"The problem with this approach is that some of the parts are over-engineered and heavier than they need to be because they are designed to withstand greater forces than they will encounter once they are integrated into the system. This results in a heavy suspension system that doesn’t handle very well, and higher fuel and steel consumption than you would like.

"A better, more integrated approach that automakers are now pursuing is to test the entire suspension by analyzing parts, not as isolated units but as interconnected components. That way, we will learn more precisely how individual parts interact with each other, and we will be able to design parts that are just as light and rugged as they need to be but not too heavy or rugged."

The integrated approach is particularly important for the design of suspension systems because one damaged part can cause heavier strain on surrounding parts. If engineers know which parts are most prone to damage, those parts can be built heavier and other parts can be made lighter, reducing the overall weight and improving the performance of the suspension.

A suspension system consists of parts such as bolts, rubber bushings, coil springs, steering mechanisms and tie rods. The method developed at Purdue senses naturally occurring vibration patterns to detect damage to components. Sensors called "tri-axial accelerometers" are attached to suspension components and are used to collect data as vibration passes through the components. The data are fed to a computer, where complex software programs interpret the information to analyze each part’s performance.

Such "fault-identification" methods may not only provide information for designing better suspensions but also might be used for future "structural health monitoring" systems in cars that automatically detect damaged parts and estimate how long they will last.

When perfected, such a "systems approach" could provide a competitive edge to companies that make suspension parts. The work is funded by ArvinMeritor Inc., which makes suspension components at its plant in Columbus, Ind. The research also is supported by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, located in Purdue’s Discovery Park, the university’s hub for interdisciplinary research.

"We want to develop instrumentation, sensing methods and technologies and also ways to process data that industry can use to conduct durability tests on so-called integrated suspensions," Adams said. "The company that designs an integrated suspension system that is lighter and lasts longer than the component-wise suspension will have a competitive advantage over other companies."

The research paper being presented this week, written by mechanical engineering doctoral student Muhammad Haroon and Adams, focuses on bolts connecting the various components in the suspension system of a luxury sedan. In research conducted at the university’s Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, the engineers showed that their system was able to detect damaged bolts, precisely determine how a bolt’s performance was affected by the damage and how its changing performance affected other parts in the suspension system.

"What we’ve shown in this particular paper is that we can detect very small changes in a part’s performance when it is damaged, and we’ve also been able to quantify the changes, which is really significant," Adams said. "We quantify the changes by turning data into information using a software algorithm that utilizes an embedded sensitivity model, which we developed.

"The reason it’s important to quantify the change is that, if we know one part is experiencing a failure mechanism of a certain type and another component is experiencing increasing strain as a result of the damaged part, we can figure out which parts need to be heaviest and which can be lighter."

The researchers hope to complete work to develop the method in less than two years, at which time it could be ready for commercial use.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Source: Douglas Adams, (765) 496-6033, deadams@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?
18.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>