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An optimization of rubber bushing material and structural parameters

Liguang Wu/Peng Guan/Kaihe Yang/Jinglai Sun


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.