Yin, Y., Rakheja, S., Yang, J., and Boileau, P., "Effects of Entrapped Gas within the Fluid on the Stiffness and Damping Characteristics of a Hydro-Pneumatic Suspension Strut," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 10(1):2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-0411.
This study is aimed at characterizing the nonlinear stiffness and damping properties of a simple and low cost design of a hydro-pneumatic suspension (HPS) that permits entrapment of gas into the hydraulic fluid. The mixing of gas into the oil yields highly complex variations in the bulk modulus, density and viscosity of the hydraulic fluid, and the effective gas pressure, which are generally neglected. The pseudo-static and dynamic properties of the HPS strut were investigated experimentally and analytically. Laboratory tests were conducted to measure responses in terms of total force and fluid pressures within each chamber under harmonic excitations and nearly steady temperature. The measured data revealed gradual entrapment of gas in the hydraulic fluid until the mean pressure saturated at about 84% of the initial pressure, suggesting considerably reduced effective bulk modulus and density of the hydraulic fluid. An analytical model of the HPS strut was formulated considering polytropic change in the gas state and increased fluid compressibility due to entrapped air. Both the measured data and the model results showed progressively hardening stiffness of gas during compression, while the damping effect attributed to fluid flows between different chambers was higher during strut rebound. The results further suggested that 20% decrease in fluid density and effective bulk modulus will result in about 18% decrease in the equivalent damping coefficient and 2% decrease in the equivalent stiffness. The reduction in mean strut pressure would also yield relatively higher static deflection of the HPS strut, which could necessitate an additional height adjustment mechanism.