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A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE


Youngwon Hahn Engineering Specialist, Dassault Systmes Simulia Corp, USA THEME Multi-body simulation KEYWORDS Vehicle suspension, leaf spring, kinematics, compliance, vibration, durability, unified CAE SUMMARY A vehicle suspension is an important subassembly connecting the vehicle body with the tires. It requires high performance and durability since the road force from the tires is transmitted through it to the vehicle body and passengers. Commonly, CAE analyses for the suspension, such as kinematic, vibration, and durability analyses, are performed separately due to the lack of a unified analysis tool. Specifically, it is difficult to analyze the dynamic behavior of a leaf spring type suspension with flexible panels because of nonlinear effects such as those due to contact, residual stress caused by the U-bolt assembly, and rigid body motion caused by the shackle. This flexible dynamic behavior makes it difficult to perform a unified analysis for the handling, vibration, and durability of the suspension. In this study, a unified CAE analysis for a leaf spring type suspension vehicle is performed using Abaqus. The analysis sequence includes a kinematic and compliance analysis to identify the suspension characteristics, a modal and frequency response analysis to determine the vibration behavior, and four post-load simulator analyses to examine the durability response. Two models which have a flexible leaf spring suspension are considered; one has a rigid frame and the other has a flexible frame. The models are obtained from the archive of the National Crash Analysis Center. Both models use a rigid upper body for convenience. In order to easily create the models, a plug-in for Abaqus/CAE was developed. With this plug-in, each analysis model can be generated using pre-existing finite element models of the suspension components. The resulting Abaqus model allows the user to consider the unloaded shape of the leaf spring and to position the leaf spring after the U-bolt assembly. Various vehicle positions can also be considered by changing the mass of the vehicle.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

1: Introduction CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) is one of the powerful design tools available today given its ability to handle many complex engineering problems in the automotive industry. However, CAE analyses, such as kinematic, vibration, and durability analyses, are performed separately due to the lack of a unified CAE analysis tool. Since this increases time and cost, automotive product developers would benefit from a unified CAE procedure [1]: one model for different analyses. In particular, it is difficult to find a unified CAE tool for a vehicle suspension system due to its complexity. A vehicle suspension is an important subassembly in an automotive vehicle. Since the road load is transferred to the vehicle body through the suspension, the suspension should be well designed with respect to handling, NVH, and durability. There are many different types of suspension. The Macpherson type or Double Wishbone type of suspension is commonly used for passenger vehicles. This type of suspension can be modeled as rigid links in a CAE analysis. However, a leaf spring type suspension (Hotchkiss type suspension), which is used for trucks or heavy duty vehicles, requires that the flexibility of the leaf spring panels be considered in the CAE analysis. As shown in Figure 1, the leaf spring suspension consists of leaf spring panels, the axle, and other components, such as bolts. The spring stiffness is based on the bending and contact behaviors of leaf spring panels. In order to capture the physical behavior of the leaf spring suspension, a flexible body should be modeled in the CAE analysis. In this paper, a unified CAE analysis using Abaqus is proposed for leaf spring type suspension vehicles in order to check various vehicle performances, such as handling, NVH, and durability.

Figure 1:

Leaf spring type suspension.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

2: Leaf Spring Type Suspension Model A leaf spring type suspension consists of leaf spring panels, a center bolt, a Ubolt, an axle, and a bushing. Multiple leaf spring panels are constrained by the center bolt and the U-bolt. The U-bolt assembly process introduces preloading stress and makes it difficult for the user to simulate leaf spring type suspensions. The preloading effect from the center bolt is assumed small in comparison with the effect from the U-bolt [2]. In order to easily build the complex leaf spring suspension system, an Abaqus/CAE plug-in is used. The plug-in requires the presence of pre-existing finite element component models such as for the U-bolt, leaf spring panels, and axle. Once the user specifies the coordinates of the joint, the connecting area information in the flexible component, and other suspension properties, the leaf spring type suspension model is automatically generated in Abaqus/CAE. Figure 2 shows a screenshot of the plug-in and finite element component models.

Figure 2:

Screenshot of the plug-in (Left) and finite element component models (Right).

In this paper, the Silverado model, which can be downloaded from the National Crash Analysis Center, is used for the leaf spring type suspension vehicle. Two models which have a flexible leaf spring suspension are considered as shown in Figure 3; one has a rigid frame and the other has a flexible frame. The joint and bushing are modeled as connector elements in the Abaqus model. The tire and upper body are defined as rigid for convenience. A contact interaction is also defined between the leaf spring panels in order to prevent their interpenetration. A rebound clip is defined as a coupling. Four posts are generated in order to apply the load at the bottom of the wheel. Between the wheel and the plate, slide-plane type connector element is used.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS ANALYS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

Figure 3:

Rigid body frame model (Left) and flexible body frame model (Right).

3: Analysis Procedure After building the leaf spring suspension vehicle, the following analysis procedure is required prior to the kinematics and compliance, NVH, and durability analyses: 1. U-bolt bolt assembly procedure The role of the U-bolt is to constrain the leaf spring panels by applying a bolt load. It can be modeled by applying a pre-section section force on the section surface of the U-bolt U in the Abaqus model. . In this procedure, the bushing center points at the ends of the leaf spring panels are fixed and the bolt assembly load is applied to the U U-bolts. bolts. The mass center of the upper body is also fixed. 2. Positioning procedure After the U-bolt bolt assembly load is applied, the constraints at the bushing center points at the end of the leaf spring panel should be released in order to locate the wheel in the equilibrium position. The vehicle position can be adjusted by moving the wheel upward or downward. The mass center of the upper body is also fixed. 3. Gravity procedure After positioning the wheel, the gravity force is applied to the model after removing the boundary condition on the upper body. This procedure is not required in the kinematics and compliance analysis. Figure 4 shows the Von Mises stress contours from the U-bolt bolt loading analys analysis.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS ANALYS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

Figure 4:

The Von Mises stress result from U-bolt bolt assembly loading analysis analysis.

After completing the above procedures, the following loads and boundary conditions are applied: Kinematics and compliance The center of gravity in the upper body is fixed and the plate at the bottom of the wheel is moved upward and downward. Only a double-bump test, in which the right and left wheels are simultaneously moved in the same direction, is performed in this study [3]. Vibration The frequency response analysis is performed after the gravity loading is applied. A unit load is applied at the right wheel in the front suspension and the left wheel in the rear suspension. The mode-based based steady-state steady dynamic analysis procedure available in Abaqus is used. Durability A random displacement is applied to the plate at the bottom of the wheel after the gravity loading is applied. The implicit dynamic analysis procedure proced available in Abaqus is used in this study. For the vibration and durability analyses, analys additional springs are added between the wheel and the plate in order to prevent free sliding of the wheel on the plate surface. If the wheel model is replaced with a flexible FE tire model and contact is defined between the flexible tire and the plate, the additional spring springs are not needed. The results from each analysis are discussed next.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

Kinematics and Compliance For the double-bump test, the suspension characteristics can be extracted. Figure 5 shows the toe, camber and vertical force change versus vertical displacement of the wheel for the rigid frame model. For the rear toe result, hysteretic behavior is observed due to the contact interaction. However, it is not significant since the toe value is small.

Figure 5:

Toe at double-bump mode (Left: Front, Right: Rear).

Vibration After a frequency extraction step using the AMS eigensolver, a modebased steady state dynamic analysis is performed. As shown in Figure 6, the wind-up mode can be observed at around 43 Hz in the rigid frame model. The flexible frame model shows the wind-up mode at

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

approximately 47 Hz, as shown in Figure 7. The flexible frame effects can also be observed in the wind-up mode in Figure 7.

Figure 6:

Vibration result from rigid frame model.

Figure 7:

Vibration result from flexible frame model.

Durability For the durability analysis, random displacement history is generated with MATLAB and applied to the plate attached to the post at the bottom of the wheel. The stresses on the leaf spring panel can be observed in the rigid body model, as shown in Figure 8 (Top). In the flexible frame model, a small local area of high stress is also observed at the front suspension as shown in Figures 8 (Bottom) and 9 (Top (black arrow)).

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS ANALYS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

Figure 10 shows the time history of the Von Mises stress around a point in the high stress area (indicated as point A in Figure 9 (Bottom)).

Figure 8: Stress contour contours at time = 0.53 sec in the rigid (Top) and flexible (Bottom (Bottom) frame models.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS ANALYS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

Figure 9: Stress contour contours at the front (Top) and rear (Bottom) suspension in the flexible frame model.

A UNIFIED CAE ANALYSIS ANALYS FOR A LEAF SPRING TYPE SUSPENSION VEHICLE

Figure 10: Stress history tory at point A on the 3rd leaf spring panel (point A indicated in Figure 9).

4: Conclusions A unified CAE analysis is performed for a leaf spring type suspension vehicle using Abaqus. With ith one model, three different analyses (kinematics and compliance, frequency, , and durability) durability are performed in order to evaluate the vehicle performance. The toe suspension parameter, the wind-up up mode, and the high stress area/stress time history can be obtained for each analysis. analysis In this paper, a rigid tire model is used for convenience. The author expects that more reliable results can be obtained if a flexible tire model is used. 5: Acknowledgments The author would like to express his gratitude to the NHTSA for use of the Silverado finite element model and also a thank Pierre Burgers and Fernando Carranza of SIMULIA for their kind advice. REFERENCES 1. El Khaldi, F., Ni, R., Culiere, Culiere P., Ullrich, P., and Terres Aboitiz, C., 2010, Recent Integration Achievements in Virtual Prototyping for the Automobile Industry, FISITA, May 31. 2. Qin, P., Dentel, G., and Mesh, M., 2002, Multi-Leaf Spring and Hotchkiss Suspension CAE Simulation, Abaqus Users Conference 3. Hahn, Y., 2010, Kinematics and Compliance (K&C) Simulation Simulation Using a Nonlinear Finite Element Model, Model SAE 2010-01-0951 4. Abaqus 6.10 Analysis Users Manual, Dassault Systmes, 2010.