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The article explains the requirements of rubber bushing material

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State Key Laboratory of Automobile Dynamic Simulation, Jilin University

ADSL, JLU

Changchun, China

e-mail:wuliguang2008@gmail.com/grumble77@163.com/

yangkaihe2009@163.com/caesunjinglai@163.com

AbstractUsing iSIGHT and ABAQUS software, this paper

illustrates a finite element method and process for optimizing

rubber bushing material and structural parameters, in order

to meet specific stiffness characteristics. Finally, as an example

of this methodology, a particular rubber bushing is presented

to verify the validity of the optimization method by comparing

the optimized result with the raw one.

Keywords-rubber bushing; Finite Element Model; optimal

design

I. INTRODUCTION

All In modern vehicle suspension design, a number of

flexonics are used, such as rubber bushings, in order to meet

the needs of vehicle noise and vibration reduction and obtain

the expected suspension compliance. Although the

application of flexonics, such as rubber bushings, increases

the complexity of design and analysis, it also provides the

possibility to do accurate suspension design meeting the

required performance. Rubber parts have different

mechanical properties in distinct directions, called anisotropy.

Due to these characteristics they can be used to meet the

feature requirements in vehicles. Therefore, researchers have

adopted many measures to improve these characteristics

through varying the shape, structure and material properties.

The rubber bushing stiffness discussed in this paper

refers to static stiffness when the suspension is in its initial

position. The static stiffness refers to the static mechanical

property, which means the load - deflection curves attained

in the case of slow loading. It can be written as in (1).

F

K

X

c

=

c

(1)

This paper by using an example of a particular rubber

bushing design discusses a method and a process for

optimizing structural and material parameters of rubber

bushing based on the Finite Element Method, the rubber

bushing is optimized to meet the stiffness norm in each

direction and achieving good suspension compliance

characteristics.

II. MODELING THE RUBBER BUSHING

A. Selecting a Rubber Bushing Pattern

By influencing the suspension compliance characteristics,

rubber bushings in a vehicle suspension system can affect the

stability of the vehicle. Thus, the stiffness characteristic of a

rubber bushing in each direction is achieved by analyzing the

vehicle performance during the design process. The

following figures (Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3) show the curves

of rubber bushing stiffness in each direction most relevant to

vehicle stability analysis: X-linear stiffness characteristic, Y-

linear stiffness characteristic and Z-torsion stiffness

characteristic (axial torsion stiffness characteristic) respec-

tively. To design a particular rubber bushing the stiffness in

these directions needs to meet the requirements.

Figure 1. X-linear Stiffness Characteristic

Figure 2. Y-linear Stiffness Characteristic

Figure 3. Z-torsion Stiffness Characteristic

Comparing Fig. 1 and Fig. 2, it can be seen that the X-

linear stiffness characteristic equals the Y-linear stiffness

characteristic. Thus in the following they are called the radial

stiffness characteristic. According to ref 1, it is possible to

achieve the required design parameters fully. The structure

of the rubber bushing shown in Fig. 4 can meet the

requirements outlined above.

Figure 4. Schematic of Rubber Bushing Structure

The purpose of this paper is to make the radial stiffness

characteristic and Z-torsion stiffness characteristic of the

given rubber bushing (Fig. 4) meet the requirements by using

the optimization method presented in this paper.

B. Rubber Bushing Model

It is commonly known that unlike metals which require

several parameters (such as elasticity modulus and Poisson

ratio) to describe mechanical properties, the properties of

rubber are quite complex. Material properties and geometric

properties of rubber are nonlinear, and are quite sensitive to

variations in temperature, surrounding medium, strain

history, loading rate and strain measurement. Ascribe to

these factors, the mechanical properties of rubber materials

and things become even more complicated. Furthermore,

there is no significant volume change to rubber materials

when they are under stresses, hence it is often supposed that

rubber is incompressible. This paper considers all these

factors comprehensively within the ABAQUS software

environment and simulates the mechanical properties of

rubber by using the notable Mooney-Rivlin material model.

A grid is applied to the structure shown in Fig. 4 and defined

as a C3D8H hybrid cell to simulate the incompressible

characteristic of rubber materials. The established Finite

Element Model of the rubber bushing is shown in Fig. 5.

C. Stiffness Characteristics of the Rubber Bushing Model

Simulation and analysis of the established rubber bushing

model is done using Finite Element Method. Owing to the

limitation of space in this paper, the details of loading and

calculations have been omitted. The comparison in each

direction between the stiffness characteristic curve (ori) of

the model and stiffness characteristic curve (obj) of the

rubber bushing achieved by analyzing vehicle performance

during the design process are shown in the following figures

respectively (Fig. 6 and Fig. 7).

Figure 5. Rubber Bushing Finite Element Model

Figure 6. Comparison of Radial Stiffness Characteristic

Figure 7. Comparison of Z-torsion Stiffness Characteristic

III. MATHEMATICAL MODEL OF OPTIMAL DESIGN

It is a complex process to optimize rubber bushings. The

object of optimization is not merely limited to a single

stiffness characteristic. Due to rubber bushings having

complex nonlinearity there is not a simple linear or one-to-

one relationship between the material and the structural

parameters of rubber bushings and the rubber bushing

stiffness in each direction, but a complex, nonlinear and

many-to-many relationship combined with high coupling

phenomena. The variation of one rubber bushing parameter

can influence many stiffness characteristics in several

different directions. Equally the stiffness characteristic in one

direction is determined by many distinct material and

structural parameters of the rubber bushing. Therefore, the

requirements of rubber bushing stiffness in each direction

cannot be satisfied simultaneously by using a traditional

single-objective optimization method. This paper, using the

iSIGHT software, conducts a multiple-objective optimization:

normalize and allocate a weight to each partial objective

respectively and optimize the parameters using a Multi-

Island Genetic Algorithm.

A. Design Variables

The optimization for design variables of rubber bushing

stiffness characteristics denotes that variable parameters

which influence the result of the rubber stiffness

characteristic optimization. The guiding principle to select

these design variables is to choose those parameters which

influence the rubber bushing stiffness characteristics the

most. Thus the selected design variables of the structure in

this paper are external diameter-D, internal diameter-d, axial

height-H and material parameter-

01

c .It is possible to use a

four-dimensional vector to express these four design

variables as in (2).

T

C H d D X ) , , , (

01

=

(2)

B. Constrains

The constraints and limitations of optimizing rubber

bushing stiffness characteristics are those necessary

constraints and limitations to the range of rubber bushing

stiffness optimization design variables and specific property

norms which influence the design variables the most, in

order to guarantee the feasibility and rationality of the result

of the optimization.

According to the empirical formula of rubber bushing

stiffness characteristics mentioned in ref 2,this paper defines

the range of the external diameter-D as 20mm to 50mm,the

internal diameter-d as 5mm to 30mm (note that D>d),the

range of axial height-H as 20mm to 60mm,and the material

parameter-

01

c has the range of 0.05 to 0.25.

C. Objective Function

The objective function for optimizing rubber bushing

stiffness characteristics is a mathematical analytical

expression of performance which is expected to achieve by

rubber bushing stiffness characteristics optimization. This

paper transforms a multi-objective problem into a single-

objective problem, and the objective function can be

expressed as in (3).

=

2

1

) 0 (

) 0 (

]

) (

[ ) (

i

i

i i

i

f

f X f

X f e

(3)

In (3)

i

e represents the weight of each partial objective.

Due to the given example in this paper, the radial stiffness

and Z-torsion stiffness have the equal importance, thus each

e is defined as 1,

) 0 (

i

f represents the optimized value of

each partial objective which means rubber bushing stiffness

characteristics that are achieved by analyzing the vehicle

performance during the design process. Then a normalization

processing is applied to each objective.

D. Mathematical Model

In sum, the mathematical model for suspension system

optimization can be presented as in (4).

=

s

T

C H d D X

X G t s

X f

) , , , (

0 ) ( . .

) ( min

01

(4)

IV. OPTIMIZATION RESULT ANALYSIS

After Optimizations and analyses are applied by

importing the mathematical model into the iSIGHT software,

the following table (TABLE ) shows the optimization

results.

Another Finite Element Model is established using

optimized rubber bushing material and structural parameters

and then analysis is applied to the simulation results. The

results of comparing the curves of prospective rubber

bushing stiffness characteristic in each direction (obj) with

the curves of original rubber bushing stiffness characteristic

in each direction (ori) and curves of optimized rubber

bushing stiffness characteristic in each direction (opt) are

shown in the following figures (Fig. 8 and Fig. 9).

TABLE I. OPTIMIZATION RESULTS

Raw Optimized

External diameter-D 35 24.213524

Internal diameter-d 15 11.832512

Axial height-H 40 48.098848

Material parameter-

01

c

0.08 0.12090.12

Figure 8. Optimized Radial Stiffness Characteristic Curve

Figure 9. Optimized Z-torsion Stiffness Characteristic Curve

It is obvious that the radial stiffness and Z-torsion

stiffness of the optimized model match well with the

prospective stiffness in each direction respectively.

Therefore, the optimization method in this paper has its

validity.

V. EXPERIMENTAL VERIFICATION

A rubber bushing is produced with the optimized

parameters. The radial stiffness and the Z-torsion stiffness

test are done using this rubber bushing. Owing to the

limitation of space in this paper, the details of processes have

been omitted. The results of comparing the curves of tested

rubber bushing stiffness characteristic in each direction with

the curves of prospective rubber bushing stiffness

characteristic in each direction (obj) and curves of optimized

rubber bushing stiffness characteristic in each direction (opt)

are shown in the following figures (Fig. 10 and Fig. 11).

Figure 10. Tested Radial Stiffness Characteristic Curve

Figure 11. Tested Z-torsion Stiffness Characteristic Curve

It is obvious that the radial stiffness and Z-torsion

stiffness of the optimized rubber bushing not only match

well to the simulation model, but also match well to the

prospective stiffness in each direction. The result illustrates

that this optimization method has both research meanings

and feasibilities in practical applications.

VI. CONCLUSION

This paper illustrates a method and process for

optimizing rubber bushing material and structural parameters.

Using a Finite Element Model of a rubber bushing, this paper

optimizes the material and structural parameters of the

rubber bushing, and achieves a remarkable effect. The results

verify the validity of this optimization method and provide a

feasible method for rubber bushing structural design.

REFERENCES

[1] Automotive Engineering Handbook Editorial Board, Automotive

Engineering Handbook Design Chapter, Beijing People's

Communications Press,2001.

[2] Li Feng,A research for rubber bushing mechanical properties of

vehicle suspensions, Tongji University,2004.

[3] GentA.N.,Engineering With Rubber:How to Design Rubber

Computations, 1997.

[4] FreakleyR.K..and PayneA.R.,Theory and Praetice of Enginnering

With Rubber, Applied Science Publishers,London,1970.

[5] Shu H peng,Wenji V Chang,A Compressible Approach in Finite

Element Analysis of Rubber-Elastic Materrials,

Computer&Structure,1997.

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