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Int. J. Vehicle Systems Modelling and Testing, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2007

Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions Xabier Carrera Akutain
TECNUN (University of Navarra) Manuel de Lardizábal 13, 20018 San Sebastián, Spain Fax: (34) 943 311442 E-mail:

Jordi Vinolas*, Joan Savall and Miguel Castro
CEIT and TECNUN (University of Navarra), P.Manuel de Lardizabal 15, San Sebastián (E-20018), Spain Fax: +34 943 213076 E-mail: E-mail: E-mail: *Corresponding author
Abstract: The potential of a controllable suspension system is limited mainly by the damping span of the shock absorbers and the switching times of the actuators. In order to quantify the relative importance and study the sensitivity of this and other features to the constraints in the force modulation ability, this paper deals with an extensive simulation work. Several models of different complexity for controllable shock absorbers are employed, including Continuously Variable Dampers (CVD) and Discrete Stage Variable Dampers (DSVD). A full vehicle model is designed and experimentally validated with collected sensors data for this sake. Keywords: full car multi-body; semi-active suspension control strategies; damper design parameters. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Carrera Akutain, X., Vinolas, J., Savall, J. and Castro, M. (2007) ‘Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions’, Int. J. Vehicle Systems Modelling and Testing, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp.296–314. Biographical notes: X. Carrera Akutain received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 from the TECNUN-University of Navarra. The title of his thesis was “Development of a semi-active suspension for an off-road vehicle”. His research interests are in the areas of vehicle design and dynamics, data-acquisition and mechatronics and he is currently employed by Tenneco Automotive in Belgium in vehicle suspension research activities. J. Vinolas is presently the Head of the Applied Mechanics Department at CEIT (Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Técnicas) and Associate Professor at the school of Mechanical Engineering at TECNUN (University of Navarra). He received his PhD in 1991. The title of the thesis was A New Experimental Methodology for Testing Active and Conventional Active Suspensions. He has been involved in different research projects related to vehicle dynamics, noise and vibration.

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at a small cost penalty. providing infinite damping curves within a limited range. Heo et al. 1989. It was suggested that the initial threshold delay and the time constant should both remain below 10 ms in order not to compromise too much the performance improvements achievable with skyhook control. 297 1 Introduction Computer controlled suspensions try to reach. He has been involved in several international research projects related to CAD. Ivers and Miller. Ahmadian and Marjoram. Recently.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions Joan Savall is a research staff member at CEIT and he is an Assistant Professor of Machine Theory at TECNUN (University of Navarra) Engineering School. Sharp and Hassan (1986) simulated the relative performance of passive. He has several patents filed and pending. He has been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science since 2003 at TECNUN. His research interests are in the areas of fuzzy logic. the results from an ideal skyhook simulation. An explanation of these control methods. M. In the early 1980s. the heave and pitch modes began to be investigated in simplified inline models with promising results (Margolis. Margolis (1983) stated that semi-active systems were quite capable of providing performances approaching that of a totally active system. He was a Visiting Researcher in 1996 at PMA in Belgium. previous experimental works of Ivers and Miller (1989) in a quarter-car test rig showed that a damper commanded by a stepper motor followed. a trade-off between riding comfort and vehicle handling. active and on/off semi-active suspensions. 1989). robotics and mechatronics. where he started out in mechanical design for mechatronics. incorporating a similar actuator delay. threshold delay and first order lag in vehicle ride quality in a quarter car model with on/off and CVDs. His research interests include mechanical design. Previously. the ‘skyhook’ and ‘groundhook’ control theories were applied. Jalili and Esmailzadeh (2001) presented an approach to optimal control of fully-active suspension systems. which are the most typical ones in automotive applications. Crolla et al. can be found in several previous studies (Karnopp et al. A prominent study is that of . introducing a simple damper model and including phase delay. introducing first-order lag dynamics with a cut-off frequency of 16 Hz for the semi-active system. In order to control the unsprung weight motion or wheel hop. In addition to the studies with the popular quarter-car model. (1989) had simulated the strong influence of damping constraints. In this manner. (2002) demonstrated in Hardware in the Loop (HiL) ride simulations with CVDs that the semi-active system could achieve a competitive control performance by using road adaptive control laws. 1982). more realistic simulations were actually achieved. which try to follow the command from an ideal fully active force generator. Castro is a research student and PhD candidate in the school of Mechanical Engineering at TECNUN (University of Navarra). He received his PhD Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Navarra in 2005.. 1975. computer aided design and simulation. This phase delay was shown to have an adverse effect. Nevertheless. (2000) carried out simulations with Modified Skyhook Damping (MSD). superior to that achievable with conventional passive suspensions. CAM and CAE. Hong et al. He received his MS Degree on Mechanical Engineering from the University of Piura (Peru) in 1995. at least partially.

as tested by Goncalves and Ahmadian (2003) in a quarter car test-rig with steady state and transient inputs. to increase the handling performance for all kind of road vehicles. (2002). (2000a). Subsequent sections describe an approach to improve handling for ideal CVDs and for a DSVD model based on an existing shock absorber used in the real car. 2005).. 1994. The influence of the design parameters of the DSVD (time response. also.298 X. HiL testing resulted in minimisation of Root Mean Square (RMS) body acceleration for stochastic road data and bump inputs using modified skyhook control. Simulation works developed with a four-degrees of freedom (dof) tractor unit model (Kitching et al. These discrete stage devices consist of stepper motors driving a valve that restricts the oil flow between the chambers of the shock absorber. the results were checked on full spatial simulations. number of discrete positions. some of them are related to force modulation in semi-active suspensions (Emura and Kakizaki. 1993). including essential non-linearities of damper. Carrera Akutain et al. The hybrid control is a combination of pure skyhook and groundhook and can offer a good compromise between the sprung and unsprung masses. 2 Multi-body full car model Vehicle models in previous studies range from 1-dof to multi-dof articulated heavy vehicle models. A related relevant paper is that of Kortüm et al. where each component of a CVD is analysed in detail. Kitching et al. Stochastic road profiles and transient inputs like bumps and potholes in straight line are usually employed in these studies. 2000b). Section 3 presents the effectiveness of hybrid semi-active control and hybrid-plus extended groundhook strategies on the single-seater car when ideal actuators or CVDs with limited time response or limited damping factor range are used. Kenjo. caused especially by trucks. Carrera Akutain et al. the control of the wheel hop can help not only to minimise the road damage caused by trucks but. They can be classified as: . compared to an optimum passive suspension. in which the potential of road friendliness is proven by testing and simulations. Section 2 is dedicated to correlate experimental results of the vehicle obtained on a track with simulations in equivalent conditions. In order to confirm the validity of the multi-body model being used.. The diverse road-friendly projects are very active in this area. Although several aspects of the control design were treated in a simple quarter car model. Additionally. semi-active suspension and optimal control theory led to an average 9% road damage reduction for different motorway input conditions. Stepper motors have a limited number of switching positions and they are used in many applications (Chiasson and Novotnak. The wheel hop reduction can be observed from two points of view. damping factor span) on the performance of the suspension is studied in depth. springs and tyres. Section 4 presents results when a realistic model of the current DSVDs used in the vehicle is employed instead of the simplified CVD models. 1993. The first one is related to the minimisation of the road damage.

model outputs in time domain are plotted against signals of . Full car models. Pitch attitude can be controlled. 1997. two consecutive speed bumps of 50 mm height have been used for road testing validation (see Figure 2). Rigid/flexible car body models with/without longitudinal/lateral dynamics (Barak and Sachs. Metz and Maddock.. 2002). 1979. • • • In this work. With the current approach. Karnopp. Preload was adjusted to that of the real vehicle. with block diagrams representing bodies. regarding the employed shock absorbers.... On one hand. 1994). 1996. 1968. Goncalves and Ahmadian.. Hwang et al. Gordon and Sharp. When considering the straight line ride.. 1995. 1994. Kortüm et al. 1982.. 1997. Esmailzadeh and Fahimi. an extension of MATLAB/Simulink® with tools for modelling and simulating mechanical systems. Soliman and Crolla. In this manner. Hong et al. 2004). the stiffness of the springs was measured and continuity of first order in the force-displacement function at bump/rebound end stops was imposed. Their characterisation was accomplished making use of a parametric damper model based on Reybrouck’s (1994) work and further developed and validated by the authors (Carrera Akutain et al. connections. Giua et al. Margolis. 1998. Roll-plane models (Dorling and Cebon. 1996. On the other hand. Elmadany. Suspension elements were implemented as non-linear S-functions in this multi-body environment. Novak et al. Due to their simplicity and ease of use they are widely employed in HiL simulations but only the heave mode can be studied. Krtolica and Hrovat. which is lost as shown in Figure 2 when the wheel impacts the obstacle. 1986.. The approaching speed was 30 km/h and the vehicle passes over the speed bumps without engine effort. pitch and/or roll modes can be controlled depending on the complexity of the model. in order not to jeopardise the stability of the simulations. 1996). 2002). unsprung vertical displacements in that corner ( Z Si In our tests. 1989. Roll attitude can be controlled. A key factor in the modelling was considering the vertical stiffness of the tyre.. 1985.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions • 299 Classic quarter car models (Bender. a full car model approach has been preferred. they were supplied by the company APA-Kayaba and were arranged in parallel with the springs. Valasek. the displacement of the suspension at the corner i would be represented as the difference between the projected coordinates of the sprung and ′ − ZUi ′ ). the stiffness is set to zero when the contact is lost. Venhovens. 2000. Heave. pitch and roll) define the system. Choi et al. In the following figures. 2006).. the four vertical coordinates of the unsprung masses and the three modal coordinates (heave. 1992. 2003. very useful in the identification of mass properties and a derived 7 dof representation of the vehicle built in this work. 1993. This effect is managed in the simulations by implementing an increasing linear time delay on the rear axle with respect to the front axle. (Besinger et al. 1986. only effective in the case where road and tyre were in contact. Dorling et al. thus making the study more complex. In fact. sensors and actuators. 1991. The model is represented in SimMechanics. first characterisations considering perfect road-tyre contact gave unacceptable results. Crolla and Abdel-Hady. shows a CAD design. Figure 1. Pitch-plane models (Thompson and Pearce. 1983. Sharp and Hassan. 1998. Venhovens et al. Kadota.

The drive through the bumps and the compression of the suspension for both axles can be noticed. the brightest lines represent the experimental displacement values (zero indicates no compression and li is the length of the ith damper in maximum extension). collected at 100 Hz sample frequency. diverse sensors mounted on-board. The most representative ones are: displacement sensors and force transducers in each suspension corner and an accelerometer in the sprung mass (top mount of the Front Left (FL) suspension). A static stiffness of 90 kN/m for the four tyres was chosen. Figure 1 Vehicle model (left) and CAD representation (right) where x y zC ϕ ψ z0 zUi zSi Figure 2 Longitudinal axes of the vehicle Lateral axes of the vehicle Heave mode.300 X. In Figures 3 and 4. Carrera Akutain et al. Vertical displacement of the cog Pitch mode Roll mode Vertical displacement of the road input Vertical displacement of the unsprung mass of corner i Vertical displacement of the sprung mass at corner i Testing for the validation of the full car model The dynamic stiffness of the tyres was unknown and was tuned observing differences between model outputs and collected data. . The simulation step size was of 2 ms.

RL compression Figures 5 and 6 compare the suspension dynamic forces of the model and the experimental signals sampled at 200 Hz. FL compression 301 Figure 4 Model validation. or the lateral grip of the tyre. but there are some peaks in the experimental data for the rear force transducers (see Figure 6). .Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions Figure 3 Model validation. it seems to be caused by some limitations of the model such as not considering either the friction on the mounts between the chassis and the wishbones. Model outputs for both axles are reasonably close to the measured values. Although no definitive explanation has been found for this mismatch. which could have some effect as the track width slightly changes with suspension deflection. which do not match the signals of the vehicle model.

Although the peak values and the shape of the curves remain similar. which is quite understandable considering the sensitive nature of acceleration signals.302 X. Figure 5 Model validation. Force through rear suspensions . The vertical acceleration of the FL top mount (see Figure 7) shows a good tracking of the simulated values. it seems to be a slight back and forth phase shift that causes the peak signals to differ slightly. Force through front suspensions Figure 6 Model validation. the shape and correlation of the signals confirms the validity of the designed model and consequently the model is accepted as a reliable tool for the simulation of the different semi-active control setups. Carrera Akutain et al. Despite the limitations noticed.

fuzzy logic. Therefore. Fc: Csky: Linear skyhook damping factor. backstepping.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions Figure 7 Model validation. Connecting the wheel to a skyhook is termed as ‘groundhook’. neural networks and adaptive control. the control force is usually built as a linear combination of skyhook and passive components. Cpassive: Damping coefficient of the passive component. which takes the name of modified skyhook damping (MSD). The analogue principle may be applied to the control of the non-suspended mass. A hybrid method combining aspects of groundhook and skyhook was discussed by Ahmadian (1997) as a potential alternative to get a more acceptable compromise for a wider range of applications. Given that the use of the relative displacement of the wheel with respect to the road profile for control purposes is not feasible in practice. sliding mode. Taking into account non-linear dynamics leads to a wide range of non-linear control techniques such as multi-linear. 1983). variations of the skyhook damper controller are necessary. Linear controllers are normally based on optimal control (LQR/LQG). . It obviously presents the opposite problem. For the simple quarter car model: +C FC = Csky ⋅ Z S passive ⋅ ( Z S − Z u ) (1) where Force command as result of the skyhook law. as adverse effects on body-resonance control arise (Margolis. It has the disadvantage of not considering rattle space and simulating a situation where there is no wheel damping. Pure skyhook control (see Figure 8) is only optimal in the sense of minimising vibration transmission to the sprung body. Acceleration of the sprung mass 303 3 Comparing the effectiveness of different semi-active control setups Diverse methods controllers have been employed for years to design suspension. the skyhook principle or robust control (H∞ and µ-synthesis). which leads to a massive wheel-hop resonance when compared to a traditional passive damping.

The aim is to provide an estimation of performance of ‘quasi-ideal’ systems prior to more realistic analysis as those carried out in Section 4.304 : Z S : Z u Figure 8 X.000 Ns/m (very broad damping span). Furthermore. Two hybrid semi-active control strategies are compared in this section. These values are more in line with what can be expected from a real controllable damper. It makes use of the well known skyhook and groundhook concepts. more or less ideal. a modified hybrid control is applied. the excessive vibration of the wheel (detected by accelerometers) or of the suspension at the wheel-hop frequency band could be corrected. This lag equals a cut-off frequency of 15 Hz and is introduced to avoid an unrealistic instantaneous switching CVD supposition (Case 3) and to predict the performance level in a more accurate manner. Pure skyhook (left) and practical semi-active (right) quarter car representations Another practical approach is to continuously employ skyhook body control for good comfort and discrete stage adaptive control modes when different road or driver inputs are detected. 3. Case 2: Linear CVD with Csoft = 500 Ns/m and Chard = 10. with the addition of a passive component. The effectiveness of each of them is obtained by carrying out simulations in four different cases. Case 1: Perfect active suspension (ideal active force generator). Carrera Akutain et al. For instance. Case 3: Linear CVD with Csoft = 1000 Ns/m and Chard = 3000 Ns/m. Absolute vertical velocity of the sprung mass. Absolute vertical velocity of the unsprung mass. Case 4: A first order lag of 10 ms time constant is added to Case 3. Using the coordinates of the full car model.1 Hybrid semi-active control Initially. a similar term is added by the authors in order to reduce the pitch of the body. the controller output yields for each corner: +C ′ ′ ′ FC′i = Csky ⋅ Z Si passive ⋅ ( Z si − Z ui ) + Cground ⋅ ( Z ui − Z 0i ) ± Cpitch ⋅ ϕ (2) .

Apart from the typical Csky. Previously it has been stated that the goal function would be focused on the compression of the tyres (hence it relates to the vertical dynamic tyre load). the fixed damping law of the real DSVD shock absorbers giving the best result so that it can be called ‘optimum passive’. In the setup presented. The non-bold cross values are included as they reflect the mutual influence of different control gain parameters for subcases A. a simple goal performance index has been chosen. in addition. This led to a combination of corner based and modal based (signal of gyroscope) control. The results with the CVDs of Cases 3 and 4. without paying attention to other factors. Cground and Crelative weighting parameters. B is the optimum setup for reducing the compression of the FL tyre as wheel hop indicator. but attention has also been paid to pitch reduction. the same value was assumed for the front right corner. gives the best results. Crolla et al. Beyond the aerodynamic stability effects cited. the latter including actuator lag dynamics. It seems to be more advantageous to broaden the force span attainable with the dampers than using very fast actuators.. Table 1 details the normalised RMS values of the controlled signals with respect to this optimum fixed damping law mentioned above. the importance of the body attitude motions for the performance of the vehicle was revealed. Obviously. Simulation A is the optimum subcase for the defined performance index in each of the four cases quoted above. but it can not be forgotten either that quick big force changes might introduce excessive noise into the system. an accelerometer was attached to the FL suspension top mount. A value of unity represents the performance of the optimal passive suspension whereas a normalised value below unity obviously means improvement of the controlled suspension with respect to the optimum passive system.e.. while the effect of the damping range on the wheel hop is less noticeable. it must be noted that pitch reduction can. the case of an active force generator. The results are compared with those of the optimum passive setup. B or C on each other. which is in agreement with previous research works where simulations with a similar cut-off frequency were carried out (Sharp and Hassan. since it is a good starting point to judge the relative importance of the ideal control and the practical constraints on the controllable suspension performance. i. These values are bold marked. which is inversely transformed in demanded force at each corner. ideal in both unlimited energy supply and instantaneous reaction time. as well as the comfort perception. 1989). but an actuator like that does not exist in reality. each with the same penalty factor.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions 305 ′ − Z ′ represents the ith shock absorber extension velocity and ϕ the body where Z Si ui pitch angle variation. In the work of Metz and Maddock (1986). pitch motion and acceleration of the sprung mass. 2005) is making use of modal transformations from vertical accelerometer signals to calculate the force command with modal velocities. and subcase C focuses on body pitch control. The sign of this constant is obviously opposite for front and rear axles. Table 1 shows that the more limited the system is. do not differ excessively. In any case. by adding the normalised contributions of wheel hop. help to improve the confidence and safety of the driver. Simulations are carried out combining different values of the weighting parameters. In order to summarise different targets. both features are desired. This ideal state has been used as Case 1. 1986. The optimum setting of . the poorer the improvements of target indices (bigger normalised values) are. Pitch motion can be reduced to an acceptable level as long as the ratio of maximum to minimum damping is large enough. and due to the symmetric nature of the experiment with the sleeping policeman. A typical approach (Lauwerys. a ‘pitchhook’ Cpitch factor is introduced and multiplied by the pitch velocity.

813 1.939 0.699 0.714 0. . Table 1 Optimum RMS values (hybrid control) Index Case 1 A B C Case 2 A B C Case 3 A B C Case 4 A B C 0. this extension is combined with our previous controller: ′i − Z u ′i ) Fc′′ = Fc′ + ∆kUnsprung ⋅ ( Z ui − Z 0i ) − ∆kSprung ⋅ ( Z S i i (3) where ∆kUnsprung refers to the tyre stiffness and ∆kSprung to the spring stiffness.474 0. Cases 2 and 3 present intermediate improvements.903 0.807 1.765 0.245 FL wheel hop Pitch angle 3.171 0.917 0.282 0.081 0.941 0. Carrera Akutain et al. This represents an example of a very superior control strategy in an ideal model that loses its advantage when more realistic constraints are considered.714 1.2 Hybrid plus extended groundhook The extended groundhook is a variation proposed by Valasek et al.898 0. This means that employing realistic models and constraints is absolutely necessary for the development of suspension control strategies.931 0.055 0.834 0.997 0.590 1.809 0. The conclusions for the pitch control are similar to those of Section 3. where tyre compression is unavoidable.930 0.958 0. Subsequently.819 0.738 0. 2002).872 1. (1997) and has been used in several road-friendly projects for trucks (Kortüm et al.922 0. A procedure analogous to Section 3 is followed to obtain the performance indexes and the results obtained are listed in Table 2. It tries to reduce virtually the stiffness of the tyre when passing through a bump.756 0.882 0.700 0.306 X. The four presented cases show that the huge benefits of controlling the wheel hop with the extended control for the ideal Case 1 (bigger than for the simple hybrid control) are sensibly reduced for the more limited case of CVD with first order lag (Case 4). the different weighting parameters for the unrealistic perfect active force generator and for the more realistic cases may differ considerably.357 1.820 0.019 0..968 0.891 0.

834 0. Results with the extended groundhook control are also included.3 Results summary for both control strategies Figure 9 summarises the results previously mentioned. This extension shows only a small advantage with respect to the previous hybrid Case 4B without extension.747 Pitch 0.713 0.240 0. Both in wheel hop (B) and in body pitch (C) reduction. Cases 1–4 (B) represent the optimal wheel hop reduction with the hybrid control.875 0. while 1CExt seems to be an optimum compromise between wheel hop and pitch control. Case 3 more than Case 2 and Case 4 more than Case 3. Figure 9 Wheel hop-pitch diagram.891 0.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions Table 2 Optimum RMS values (hybrid + extended groundhook control) Index Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4 0.576 0. Simplified Cases 1–4. with respect to the passive dampers.696 0. Case 2 is more limited than Case 1.336 0.723 307 3. . Cases 1–4 (C) are analogues for the pitch angle reduction. Looking back to ideal active cases 1BExt and 1CExt. although the latter two do not differ much.474 0. the first one achieves the minimum wheel hop. hybrid and extended Figure 10 reflects the body pitch angle over time for Cases 1–4 and hybrid control and how the importance of a wide damping range is clearly noticeable. These suboptimal solutions (as they are optimal for wheel-hop but not for pitch or for the global index defined) present an increase in the pitch angle RMS value for Cases 1 and 2.911 FL wheel hop 0.

e. a simulation step time half this actuator step size (2 ms) has been chosen for greater accuracy and motion interpolation between steady positions. A detailed study of the dynamics of these actuators is presented in a previous paper (Carrera Akutain et al. This force command is introduced in a block where it is compared with the forces of the 17 possible damping laws with the instantaneous damper velocity. Every 4 ms. Instead of selecting an integrator step size equal to the time necessary for the stepper to move from one position to the next one (Giua. the force command becomes a position command. One of the conclusions was that the simplest way to accurately represent the stepper motor motion was by considering a step or lag time of 4 ms for switching between consecutive positions or damping laws out of 17. Carrera Akutain et al. which makes controlling the wheel-hop impossible.. the position command might obviously have already changed.. Figure 10 Pitch angle over time. 2004). 2005). Figure 11 shows the control scheme for the FL suspension. The stepper will begin to move towards the position in which the output is closest to the command force. . selectable with stepper motors. When this happens. i. Cases 1–4 4 Limitations when using a non-ideal DVSD The DSVD shock absorbers utilised have 17 settings or damping laws. The hybrid control command of equation (2) is generated in the same manner as in Section 3.308 X. the stepper is capable of reaching the position immediate closest to the current one.

not continuously but only when command force and input velocity are of the same sign. 8 ms and 64 ms for steppers with different number of poles. The quotes refer to the difficulty of defining a bandwidth for a system that controls the damping. an additional study is proposed. The effect of the stepper velocity has also been simulated subsequently. With faster actuators. soft to hard) has been studied.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions Figure 11 Control scheme of the FL suspension 309 Additionally. If we consider that reducing the number of poles of the stepper motors to half would almost duplicate the motion speed of the motor. The results of Figure 12 employing the hybrid control indicate that faster actuators with the current damper help to reduce body pitch and wheel hop. and a level enough to control the wheel-hop frequency is not reached. 17_4 ms and 9_8 ms are the current possible configurations. it would make sense to develop stepper motors with fewer poles. Reducing the total number of positions from 17 to 9 does not significantly change the suspension’s performance. the use of nine intermediate positions instead of the 17 (the switching step is doubled. . as sufficient damping can not be provided by the controller due to saturation of the shock absorbers. as will be shown later. The reason for the relatively poor performance of these DSVDs for wheel hop lies both on the small damping span available and on the limited bandwidth of the actuators. the ‘bandwidth’ of the controlled suspension is increased. 2 ms. for this force modulation system a bandwidth concept may not be completely wrong. This has led to a modification of the damper model (see ‘Modified’ in Figure 13. as the damping step is very narrow for 17 distinct positions. it can be observed in Figure 12 that there is no benefit from making use of the 17 damping laws instead of the intermediate nine laws. using step times of 1 ms. as investigating the potential performance of a suspension with dampers of higher span becomes interesting. 4 ms. With X_Y ms the number of positions is represented by X and the step time by Y(ms). where curves for minimum and maximum damping are shown) in order to simulate this potential state of increased actuation area. therefore the switch between consecutive positions takes a total of 8 ms) and two end positions (64 ms between extremes. Considering the standard shock absorbers. At this point. However.

in contrast to Figure 9.310 X. Figure 12 Wheel hop-pitch diagram. as each suboptimal case needs its respective control parameters. Different actuator velocities. 9–17 positions Figure 13 Modified F-v diagram for RL shock absorber The suboptimal values for both wheel hop and pitch angle are drawn with a single marker in Figure 14. Carrera Akutain et al. where the optimal wheel hop value is represented on the y-axis with its correspondent non-optimal pitch value and vice versa. considering three different actuator velocities besides the real dynamics (delay of 64 ms). Figure 14 presents the results with the current damper and the modified (M) shock absorber model functioning as two-stage or ON/OFF dampers. The current shock absorbers make a reduction of 8% in wheel hop and 11% in pitch angle from the .

Again. Figure 15 Body acceleration improvement. Different actuator velocities. Speeding up the actuators would lead to a higher pitch reduction (up to 24%). respectively. the values are improved up to 36% and 27%. Different actuator velocities In spite of the fact that this work has been focused on the wheel hop and pitch angle reduction and not on comfort issues. 9–17 positions . Two-stage damper.Comparing the performance and limitations of semi-active suspensions 311 optimum passive system possible. with little improvement in wheel hop. while widening the force range (modified dampers M represented with hollow markers) of the shock absorbers presents promising results. With the normal actuator velocity. with faster actuators. Figure 15 shows a noticeable reduction of the RMS acceleration in the vehicle centre of gravity. RMS pitch angle is reduced by 17% and the wheel hop by up to 23%. real (2_X) and modified (2M_X). Figure 14 Wheel hop-pitch diagram.

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