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17 views7 pagesVehicle Handling Characteristics and Development of a Formula Student Car

Sep 28, 2015

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Vehicle Handling Characteristics and Development of a Formula Student Car

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Vehicle Handling Characteristics and Development of a Formula Student Car

© All Rights Reserved

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Aidan Lalor

Swansea Metropolitan University

Abstract: The prediction of vehicle handling in motorsport is used to help optimise ontrack performance before the car gets to the circuit. This report analyses the merits of

predicting vehicle performance by comparing the behaviour of the car to track data. The

test data was obtained at Pembrey circuit after a data logger was installed on the car.

The driver undertook various dynamic manoeuvres in order to provide a set of data

which would be comparable to the prediction models. The results of this report indicate

an acceptable level of accuracy between the calculations and the track data,

demonstrating the usefulness of models for investigating vehicle handling.

Keywords: vehicle dynamics, handling characteristics, Formula Student, prediction modelling

1 Introduction

The purpose of this report is to show how

analytical based models can be used to predict

or analyse the handling balance of a Formula

Student car. The track testing was structured to

help obtain certain results from the behaviour

of the car which could be analysed afterwards

and compared to the prediction models.

Improving the response handling for the driver

can increase the performance of the car with

the aim of bettering previous results in the

dynamic events in the competition. The

dynamic events consist of a skid pad test, an

endurance race and a sprint race, all of which

benefit from a car with a desirable handling

balance. Vehicle modelling and prediction is an

extremely complex exercise and this report

aims to show the usefulness of understanding

the fundamentals in vehicle prediction

modelling.

2 Experimental Work

necessary dimensions of the car and build a

kinematic model to investigate the suspension

geometry.

These

measurements

were

completed in the automotive workshop and the

results were inputted into WinGeo3. The

accuracy of the model was confirmed by

measuring the rate of motion ratio change on

the car and comparing it to the results from the

software. The car was also placed on a flat

patch in order to measure its static setup; this

included toe, camber ride heights and corner

weights. The centre of gravity was measured,

along with the Ackermann steering angle.

The car was fitted with a Race Technology DL1

Data logger. Linear potentiometers were

calibrated to measure damper displacement

and a rotary potentiometer was connected to

the steering to obtain accurate data on the

drivers steering input. The DL1 came with an

integrated 3-axis accelerometer and a GPS

beacon which was used to record speed and

position.

2.1 Workshop

The car was brought to Pembrey circuit in order

to collect data from the available instruments.

Car setup was completed and a test plan was

used to outline the changes to be made

throughout the day. Six runs were completed to

compile information on roll stiffness, the final

run reverting to original setup to investigate

track evolution. Four more tests were

completed to analyse the effect of damper

settings and to find a setup the driver was

comfortable with. All driver feedback was

recorded and the test data was downloaded for

analysis.

3 Track Analysis

After the potentiometers were installed and

calibrated, maths channels were set up in Race

Technologys Analysis software. These maths

channels were used to calculate the understeer

angle of the car throughout the different tests

by comparing the actual steered angle to the

theoretical Ackermann steer angle. This is

defined by Segers [1] as:

Milliken [2] describe the result of these

calculations:

Neutral steer: Steered angle = Ackermann

steering angle

Understeer: Steered angle > Ackermann

steering angle

Oversteer: Steered angle < Ackermann

steering angle

Equation 4 [1] was then used in the maths

channels to output a result for understeer

angle. From the definitions above, a positive

value means understeer and a negative value

means oversteer.

Equation 4

Figure 1 shows the third run of the figure-ofeight track testing, the black line showing the

understeer angle. It is clear that the car is not

well-balanced, with power-on oversteer

occurring from the inside rear wheel lifting and

mid-corner understeer occurring from the front

roll stiffness being too stiff.

Equation 1

Substituting the equation for corner radius

(Equation 2) into the maths channel, the

Ackermann steering angle can be found:

Figure 1

Equation 2

Equation 3

setup, with the understeer angle having fewer

peaks, indicating a more balanced car. This

track testing allowed a preliminary setup to be

determined, which agreed with driver

feedback.

the data logger, the input from the calibrated

steering potentiometer can be compared with

School of Automotive Engineering

inertial forces acting in the opposite direction

to the vehicles acceleration. Moments can be

taken about an axle, resulting in Equation 9:

Figure 2

Equation 9

Load transfer affects the handling balance of a

car and calculations were completed to

investigate these loads and their effects.

Weight transfer due to cornering on one axle is

found with Equation 5:

Equation 5

which is added to the outside wheel and

subtracted from the inside wheel. There are

three different modes of load transfer which

can be investigated that add up to the total

load added to each wheel. The first is the load

transfer due to unsprung mass being resisted

by the tyres; the second is geometric sprung

mass load transfer acting about the roll centre

height and resisted by the spring; the third is

the sprung mass load transfer acting about the

roll axis.

These modes of load transfer are described in

the following equations:

Equation 6

Excel to allow a user to input a desired value for

lateral acceleration and investigate the total

wheel loads. Comparing a vehicles load splits is

a measure of handling balance during steadystate conditions. This split is found by

comparing the rear loads split and the front

load split. If the load split across the front axle

is greater than at the rear, the car is said to be

understeering. If the load split is greater at the

rear, the car is said to be oversteering. Figure 3

shows the user interface for the model.

Equation 10

Figure 3

the data from track testing was used for

comparison. Using the data from the damper

potentiometers, the load acting on the springs

could be worked out, when the wheel rate and

displacement was known:

Equation 7

Equation 11

mass, and as such, the calculations only

Equation 8

Aidan Lalor | ix

sprung load transfer. Segers [1] demonstrates a

method of comparing the roll stiffness

distribution of the suspension to calculate the

load split between the front and rear axles.

Figure 4

Equation 12

Equation 13

calculating the sprung and geometric load

transfers across the front and rear axle.

Equation 14 shows the method for calculating

q, the roll stiffness distribution.

Figure 5

5 Roll Angle

The calculated roll angle (Equation 16) was

compared with the actual suspension roll angle

as described by Segers [1]:

Equation 14

displacement, was then compared with the

calculations where were completed at 100 Hz,

using the lateral acceleration data recorded

from the run. Figure 4 shows the actual front

right and front left load transfer and the

predicted load transfer. Figure 5 shows the

same results for the rear. The results were

considered very accurate, although a problem

with the damper potentiometers returned

unreliable results in the subsequent tests.

Another track test to optimise this model and

ensure accurate readings from the data logger

would be appropriate.

Equation 15

Equation 16

using damper data from the track testing. The

prediction model uses the lateral acceleration

to calculate the roll angle. Figure 6 shows a

good correlation between prediction and data.

The prediction model only takes into account

the roll stiffness of the vehicle, not resistance

caused by the dampers. There is a clear delay

between the results from lateral acceleration

and the roll angle. This was investigated further

Aidan Lalor | x

angle when the damping was set to its lowest

setting available.

unsprung mass of a car, as described by

Milliken & Milliken [2]. These forces are: the

inertia force, caused by the accelerating mass;

the damping force, due to the velocity of the

damper; the spring force, due to the

displacement of the spring.

An Excel spreadsheet was constructed to

calculate the velocities and accelerations of the

unsprung mass during cornering; however, a

stability problem was present in the results so

the model was produced in MATLAB where the

time steps for the calculation could be altered

easily.

Figure 6

of an applied moment from the change in

direction can be investigated. The first time

step is 0, and at this point the angular

acceleration () can be worked out from the

following equations:

Figure 7

represent the behaviour of the car accurately

and could be used to produce the roll gradient

of the car for different setups. The roll gradient

of the car is worked out by:

Equation 18

Equation 19

Equation 20

Equation 17

this type of racecar, with the available setups

for this vehicle showing roll gradients of 0.8/g

to just over 1/g.

Equation 21

The step steer input model investigates the

transient response from the dampers to a

lateral acceleration input from the driver. This

model takes into account the three basics

School of Automotive Engineering

Equation 22

= 0 and roll velocity = 0. To calculate the

Aidan Lalor | xi

time step, Equations 23 and 24 are used:

Equation 23

Equation 24

each unsprung mass. As stated previously, this

force depends on the spring displacement and

damper velocity. Using these calculated forces,

the resisting moment can be worked out and

Equation 19 can then be used to find the

applied roll moment at the next time step. The

behaviour of the unsprung mass can then be

found. First the acceleration:

Equation 25

displacement and velocity of the unsprung

mass can be calculated and compared with

track data of a step steer manoeuvre.

The first model was run to investigate the

behaviour of the unsprung mass to a constant 1

g lateral input. Figure 8 and Figure 9 show these

results; demonstrating the displacement and

velocity of the damped unsprung mass

depending on damper settings. These setting

were soft (0 clicks), medium (7 clicks) or hard

(14 clicks).

Figure 9

acceleration data from the data logger was

used to calculate the applied roll moment of

the vehicle and the same set of equations were

used to find the response of the unsprung mass

to this input. The manoeuvre starts at 0 g

lateral acceleration and is increased to

approximately 1 g after 3 seconds when the car

stops rolling.

Figure 10 and 11 depict the comparison of the

recorded data and the model of the front left.

In the data, the car is also experiencing

longitudinal acceleration as well as lateral

acceleration, which adversely affects the

results. The model of the front left trends the

same as the data in velocity and displacement,

but the maximums are different. The

displacement recorded is less, meaning the car

was accelerating slightly.

Figure 10

the similar trend and lower maximum from the

data.

Figure 8

front end can be reduced. Track analysis is a

invaluable way of recording the behaviour of

the car on circuit and can be used to optimise

setup accordingly. However, if track time is

limited, it is important to be able to analyse the

effect of setup changes using computer based

prediction models.

Figure 11

show that the data correlate with the model

and this is shown in Figure 12. The rear left data

results show more displacement and velocity

compared with the model. This is due to the car

squatting under acceleration. The resulting

error is larger than the front left and it is

difficult to associate the curves effectively.

Figure 12

calculate the lateral load transfer and wheel

deflection of the car for varying roll stiffness

and the results proved to be consistently

accurate for one side of the car. A model was

also created to effectively model the

characteristics of the unsprung mass during a

transient manoeuvre; however, it should be

noted that the comparison of results gives a

mixed indication of the accuracy of the model,

the track data being affected by other inputs

compared with the MATLAB model.

Comparing track data with computer-based

predictions can help validate models and

provide a useful tool for future setup work. This

report demonstrates the competency and

suitability of using roll stiffness calculations and

transient modelling to obtain information

about a vehicles behaviour before it reaches

the track.

Bibliography

[1] J. SEGERS, Analysis Techniques for Racecar

Data Acquisition, Warrendale: SAE

International, 2008.

Figure 13

Vehicle Dynamics, Warrendale: SAE

International, 1995.

It is clear from the track data that reducing the

roll stiffness from the original setup and

maintaining a slightly front biased roll stiffness

School of Automotive Engineering

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