Structural Strength Verification of Rubber Ended Leaf Spring Suspension in Commercial Vehicle via FEM

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-1495

  • 2017-03-28
At the time of invention of road coaches, the vehicle consisted only of an axle with wheels & a body attached. Smooth roads were built for a better ride comfort however they were not consistent. The road coaches were too bumpy & uncomfortable for the passenger along with the driver who was not able to control the vehicle. That's why the engineers had to turn their attention to the suspension system for a better ride comfort & handling. The technology has advanced with the time so has the suspension system. Weveller type leaf spring is one of the many type of suspension systems available in the industry. The job of a suspension system is to maximize the friction between the tires and the road surface, to provide steering stability with good handling and to act as a cushioning device ensuring the comfort of the driver & passengers. The suspension also protects the vehicle itself and any cargo or luggage from damage and wear. Design of Weveller Type Leaf springs is a combination of semi-elliptical leaf springs & Rubber mounts at the ends of leaves. The Rubber mounts at the end of these leaves plays a major role while loading & unloading is done. A study has been conducted in VECV to calculate & understand the behavior of Weveller Type Leaf Spring suspension exclusively via the Finite Element Analysis route & verifying those results with physical test. The Leaf Springs with Rubber mounts, U-Clamps, & Center Bolts are modeled in FEA which is similar to rig test bed setup. Physical test is performed by applying gradual load on the axle & holding the rubber mounts. Gauges are used to extract the data & use it for virtual co-relation. Correlations have been achieved in both Stiffness and Stress at those strain gauge locations between the Rig test & CAE results. The Leaves are fully in contact with each other and at the time of loading the leaf ends gets pushed into the rubber mounts making this particular analysis a tricky non-linear problem. Correlating this problem in FEA with rig test is a quite intricate task as dynamic friction & rubber elastomer will play major role. Good correlation (around 94%) has been achieved between Rig test data and FEA results at measured locations. Correlation has assisted in reducing product design time and cost of running the rig until crack. This method has also reduced the cost by using soft validation. Hence, this FEA based methodology has aided VECV in designing an exceptional suspension system which will prove valuable to our customers.
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