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Amir Soltani

Department of Mechanics,
Faculty of Engineering,
Islamic Azad University,
Hamedan Branch,
Hamedan 65181-15743, Iran

Avesta Goodarzi1
Department of Mechanical
and Mechatronics Engineering,
University of Waterloo,
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada

Mohamad Hasan
Automotive Engineering Department,
Iran University of Science & Technology,
Tehran 16846-13114, Iran

Khodabakhsh Saeedi
Department of Mechanical
and Mechatronics Engineering,
University of Waterloo,
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada

Optimizing Tire Vertical

Stiffness Based on Ride,
Handling, Performance,
and Fuel Consumption Criteria
Researchers mostly focus on the role of suspension system characteristics on vehicle
dynamics. However tire characteristics are also influential on the vehicle dynamics
behavior. In this paper, the effects of tire vertical stiffness on the ride, handling, accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption of a vehicle are analytically investigated. Furthermore, a method for determining the optimum vertical stiffness of tires is
presented. For these purposes, first an appropriate mathematical criterion for the ride,
handling, accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption is developed. Next, to
achieve the optimum tire characteristic, a performance index, which contains all of the
above-mentioned criteria, is defined and optimized. In the proposed performance index,
the tire vertical stiffness is a design variable and its optimization provides a compromise
among ride, handling, accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption of the
vehicle. Last, the analytical optimization results are confirmed by performing precise
numerical simulations. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4031459]


In numerous articles, the contradictory effects of the suspension

system characteristics on vehicle ride and handling have been
investigated. It is well known that the spring and damper characteristics requirement for good handling are not the same as those
for good ride comfort. Any choice between the spring and damper
characteristic is, therefore, a compromise between ride comfort
and handling [13].
Tire characteristics are also crucial in ride, handling, accelerating/
braking performance, fuel consumption, and generally the
dynamics behavior of vehicles. They are the only contact between
the road and the vehicle. The tire forces and moments are the
result of the interaction between the wheel and the road. Hence,
tire characteristics strongly affect the vehicle handling and
dynamics performance. Another role of tires is to cushion the vehicle and the passengers from road irregularities. The road surface
excitations pass through the tires and reach to the main body of
the automobile, therefore, they have a great influence on the quality of vehicles ride comfort [4]. Furthermore, the tire has a strong
influence on the vehicle fuel consumption through their rolling
resistance properties [5].
One of the most important tire characteristics, which affects all
of the above-mentioned performances, is tire vertical stiffness.
The vertical stiffness of the tire depends on the size, construction,
and the inflation pressure, but the main parameter that affects the
tire vertical stiffness is the inflation pressure [6].
The idea of changing the tires vertical stiffness through control
of its inflation pressure goes back to World War II. Since this
time, the central tire inflation system (CTIS) was used as standard
equipment on most wheeled military vehicles to improve the
Corresponding author.
Contributed by the Dynamic Systems Division of ASME for publication in the
February 20, 2014; final manuscript received August 3, 2015; published online
September 22, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Junmin Wang.

vehicle ride, handling, and accelerating/braking performance [7].

In order to enhance the vehicle dynamic behavior on rough terrains, CTIS decreases the vertical stiffness of the tires by reducing
the inflation pressure to provide better ground contact, as well as a
more comfortable ride. The military demonstrated that use of
CTIS provides a better ride and better mobility for tactical
vehicles, especially in off-highway conditions [8].
As mentioned above, the effects of the tires vertical stiffness
on the vehicle dynamics behavior are conceptually known, however, there are few published analytical research papers in this
field and most of the existing research has focused on the tires
effects on ride comfort and/or the research methods are qualitative
rather than quantitative [7,8]. The effects of the vertical stiffness
on the tires rolling resistance and the vehicles fuel consumption
have been individually studied by a number of researchers [5,9].
The main object of this research is to analytically investigate the
effects of tire vertical stiffness on the behavior of vehicles in terms
of four different aspects: ride, handling, accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption. In this research, for each performance aspect a suitable mathematical criterion is introduced;
afterward, using those criteria, the effects of the tire vertical stiffness on the vehicle behavior in each case are individually investigated. In the next step, by combining these criteria, a generalized
performance index is formed which its maximization leads to the
optimum tire vertical stiffness for ride, handling, accelerating/
braking performance, and fuel consumption concurrently. Last, by
using precise numerical simulation in the CarsimV software environment, the performance of the generally optimized tire in different situations is studied and compared with those tires which are
exclusively optimized for only ride, handling, accelerating/
braking, or fuel consumption performances.

Ride Comfort Analysis

The passenger comfort and the driver feeling in a moving vehicle are introduced as ride quality. Ride comfort is defined in terms

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of human response to the vehicle vibration. Transmitted vibration

to the vehicle originates from different sources, such as road
unevenness, engine, and transmission. However, road irregularities are the major source of vehicle vibration.
To study the vehicle ride comfort, one needs to quantify it
based on the measurable variables. Most of the ride comfort standards such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
2631, consider the vertical acceleration as the best variable for
evaluating the ride comfort of a vehicle [10]. Hence, the ride criterion can be defined based on the magnitude of average vertical
acceleration of the vehicle body, azs. For calculation of the vertical acceleration, the standard road input is a crucial issue. It can
be a simple sinusoidal road with a fixed excitation frequency, a
frequency sweep over a defined frequency range, or a real road
with a specific given power spectrum density (PSD). In this study,
frequency sweep in a specific frequency range xi ; xf has been
selected as the way to generate the road excitation input. Accordingly, the average value of azs can be found using its root mean
square (RMS):
azs 2 dx
xf  xi x i
Road surface irregularities in the range from 0 to 30 Hz represent
the most intensive source of input energy to the vibration system
of the vehicle [11]. Hence, in this paper, the ride comfort analysis
is performed by analyzing the vertical behavior of a quarter-car
model in the low (010 Hz) and high frequency (1030 Hz)
domains. In the quarter-car model, as illustrated in Fig. 1, the vertical motions of the sprung and unsprung masses are two degreesof-freedom. The quarter-car is an analytical model, and can provide useful insight into trends. Moreover, it has been proven by
previous research that regardless of the model simplicity, the
quarter-car model offers a quite reasonable accuracy for simulating the bounce motion of the sprung mass [12].
The parameters of the quarter-car model, as seen in Fig. 1, are
sprung mass (ms), suspension stiffness (ks), suspension damping
coefficient (cs), tire/wheel mass (i.e., unsprung mass) (mu), and
tire vertical stiffness (kt). The tire vertical damping coefficient is

usually very small and to simplify the model can be neglected

As aforementioned, the system behavior is studied in the
frequency-domain. Frequency-domain analysis considers the
behavior of the vehicle in terms of its response at any given frequency of stimulus. In order to find the frequency response, the
road excitation is assumed as
y Y sin xt


where Y is the magnitude of the sinusoidal road and x is the road

excitation frequency, which depends on the road wavelength and
longitudinal speed of the vehicle. By solving the quarter-car
equations of motion for the given road excitation, the magnitude
of the vertical acceleration of sprung mass, azs is calculated as
follow [13]:
4n2 x=xs 2 1
azs Yx2
Z12 Z22
Z1 x=xs 2  x=xs 2 a2  1 1  1 ex=xs 2 a2
Z2 2  f  x=xs  1  1 ex=xs 2 a2 


The other parameters are described in Table 1

According to Eq. (3), one can define the vertical acceleration
transmissibility function Az as the ratio of vertical acceleration azs
to the road excitation magnitude Y
AZ azs =Y


Now, using this new variable, without any change in the inherent of problem, we can represent Eq. (1) in the following form:

Az dx
xf  xi x i
The root mean square value of the Az, which is used for perception of the vehicle ride comfort, is called passenger discomfort
(PD), because lower RMSAz causes a more comfortable ride.
Hence, the ride comfort criterion is introduced as


#2 9



t 1
4n2 x=xs 2 1 = Z12 Z22 ;dx
: x
xf xi

Figure 2 shows the variation of Az versus the excitation frequency x for different values of tire vertical stiffness. The values
of the main system parameters are listed in Table 2. Note that
Table 1 Quarter-car model parameters and equations

Fig. 1 Quarter-car model configuration

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Natural frequency of the sprung mass


Natural frequency of the unsprung mass

Frequency ratio of sprung to unsprung mass

Damping ratio

Mass ratio

xs ks =ms
xus kt =mus
a xs =xus
n cs =2ms xs

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Fig. 2 Acceleration transmissibility versus excitation frequency for different tire stiffness

resonance happens when the frequency of excitation coincides

with one of the natural frequencies. The resonance of the
unsprung mass is usually referred to as wheel hop resonance. It
can be seen that in the low frequency range, the change in tire vertical stiffness does not have considerable effect on the sprung
mass vibration, however, when excitation frequency is close to
the natural frequency of the unsprung mass (around 10 Hz), a
stiffer tire intensifies wheel hop resonance strongly. In fact, in the
high frequency range, the stiffer tires cause a significant worse
ride quality.
The above-mentioned finding can be proven again by using the
plot of RMS (Az ). It has been illustrated in Fig. 3 in two different
frequency ranges; low frequency range from 0 to 10 Hz and high
frequency range from 10 to 30 Hz. Based on Fig. 3(a), change in
the vertical stiffness of tire has insignificant influence on the
vibration of the sprung mass in the low frequency range, as the
RMS value of Az can be approximated with a constant value of ar.
While, according to Fig. 3(b), a less-stiff tire provides better
vibration isolation in the mid to high frequency ranges.
To formulate the ride comfort criterion in high frequencydomain based on Fig. 3(b), the passenger discomfort can be
approximated as
RMSAzs ar0 ar1 kt


where ar0 and ar1 are constant coefficients. The coefficients ar0
and ar1 for our case study vehicle equipped with a 195/65R15 tire
are tabulated in Table 3. Finally, by combining Eqs. (8) and (9),
the ride comfort criterion can be obtained

ar0 ar1 kt

Handling Analysis

Sprung mass
Unsprung mass
Damping ratio
Suspension stiffness

vehicle drives through a corner [15,16]. Therefore, to quantify the

handling of vehicles, a performance index is required to determine
the potential of vehicles tires in producing the lateral force in different conditions. Generally, the lateral force of a tire can be formulated as
Fy CFa a


The term handling is often used to describe the cornering,

maneuverability, and directional response of a road vehicle. Evaluation of vehicle handling is almost subjective (due to the variety
and the different experience of those who drive vehicles) [14,15].
However, as a general rule, the handling characteristic of tires is
in connection with their capacity to generate lateral force when a

Table 2

Fig. 3 RMS of sprung mass vertical acceleration: (a) Low

frequency range and (b) high frequency range

Quarter-car model parameters value

where a and CFa are the side slip angle and the cornering coefficient of the tire, respectively. Based on Eq. (11), it is clear that a
greater cornering coefficient increases the potential of a tire in
producing the lateral force. So the handling criterion can be
simply defined as







Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control


Table 3 Ride, handling, and accelerating/braking performance

criteria coefficients







2.16  103
6.622  106


1.837  1011
1.895  1017
2.291  106

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Maximizing the presented handling criterion reduces the sideslip angle, which is crucial for improving the stability of vehicles.
To evaluate the effect of tire characteristics on the handling of
a vehicle based on the handling criterion in Eq. (12), we should
develop relationships between tire cornering coefficient and tire
vertical stiffness. Since more than 80% of the total tire stiffness is
due to inflation pressure [6], we can utilize relationships between
lateral stiffness and inflation pressure approximately.
To include the effects of the inflation pressure in the tire cornering coefficient, CFas relationship of magic formula (MF) 6.1 tire
model [1719] is used. Relative to original form of MF, two linear
expressions depending on normalized change in inflation pressure
(dp) are added

CFa PKY1 1 PKY1 dpFZ0 sin 2 tan
PKY2 1 PKY2 dpFZ0
where the Ps are MF parameters, which for our case study 195/
65R15 tire have been listed in Table 4, Fz and Fz0 are the actual
and the nominal vertical load, respectively, and dp is




where p and p0 are the existing and nominal inflation pressures,

The next step is to describe the inflation pressure and the vertical stiffness relationship. Based on the method that is presented
by Schmeitz et al. [17], the vertical stiffness can be obtained from
the following empirical equation:
kt 1 qFz3 dpqFz1 2qFz3 q


where the qFz s are fitting parameters, their typical value for the
case study tire have been listed in Table 4, and q is tire deflection.
Practically, the qFz1 is much bigger than 2qFz3q, and then the second one can be ignored. In other words, it can be assumed that the
relation between the vertical stiffness and the inflation pressure is
approximately linear [15,16]. Hence, by solving Eq. (15) for dp,
the expression for the normalized change in inflation pressure is
derived as follows:

qFz3 qFz1
By substituting Eq. (16) in Eq. (13), one can find a relationship
between tire cornering stiffness and tire vertical stiffness. This
relationship is graphically presented for the 195/65R15 tire in
Fig. 4. For this specific tire, the maximum value of cornering
coefficient occurs at kt 140 N/mm. Relative to this point, any
increase/decrease in tire vertical stiffness causes a reduction in the
tire cornering coefficient. Consequently, the potential of the tire
for producing lateral forces decreases. As a physical explanation
of this tire characteristic, one should note that the value of the

Table 4

cornering coefficient is proportional to the tire/road contact patch

area and the lateral stiffness of the tire. Besides, the tire vertical
stiffness is directly related to the tire lateral stiffness and
indirectly related to the contact patch area. So any change in the
vertical stiffness from the optimum point, decreases one of the
above-mentioned influential factors and results in a reduction of
the cornering coefficient.
In order to use a simple equation for the handling criterion,
using the least square method, a fourth-order polynomial is fitted
to the graph of CFa versus kt. The simplified handling criterion is
obtained in the following form:


ahi kti



where the constant coefficients ahi s are tabulated for the 195/
65R15 tire in Table 3.

Accelerating/Braking Analysis

The vehicles accelerating/braking performance correlates with

the longitudinal forces that a tire generates during braking or
accelerating maneuvers. Consider the longitudinal force formulation of tires as
Fx CFj j


where CFj is the longitudinal slip stiffness and j is the longitudinal slip of the tire. Similar to the approach in Sec. 3 to decrease
the longitudinal slip as a way to improve the vehicle stability [16]
and to increase the potential of generating longitudinal force, the
following performance criterion is introduced:


Considering the goal of this research, the introduced accelerating/braking performance criterion should be presented as a function of the tire vertical stiffness. For this purpose, the improved
MF 6.1 tire model [1719] can be used. Based on the MF model
longitudinal slip stiffness CFj relates to inflation pressure of the
tire as
CFj Fz PKX1 PKX2 dfz ePKX3 dfz 1 PPX3 dp PPX4 dp2 (20)
where the Ps are MF parameters, which for the case study tire
have been listed in Table 4, and dfz is the normalized change in
vertical load and is defined based on the actual and nominal vertical loads

195/65R15 Tire magic formula parameters value






Fig. 4

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Cornering coefficient versus tire vertical stiffness

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Fz  FZ0


As can be seen in Eq. (20), the first part is a function of dfz and
because it is a constant value, the first part is supposed to be constant. Besides, the second part of CFj equation includes a secondorder algebraic form of normalized change in inflation pressure
(dp) which, as aforementioned, is a function of the tire vertical
stiffness. Finally, combining Eqs. (20), (21), and (14), a relationship between the tire longitudinal slip stiffness and the tire vertical
stiffness is formed as follow:
CP ap0 ap1 kt  ap2 kt2


where ap0 , ap1 , and ap2 are constant coefficients which have been
tabulated for the 195/65R15 tire in Table 3.
Figure 5 shows the variation of the longitudinal slip stiffness of
195/65R15 tire versus vertical stiffness. The maximum point
occurs at kt 170 N/mm. It is clear that after or before the maximum point, any change in the tire vertical stiffness causes a reduction in the tire longitudinal slip stiffness. The similar physical
explanation with what was addressed in Sec. 3 for relationship
between the cornering stiffness and the vertical stiffness can be
stated here again.

Usually, the following general form is used to formulate the

rolling resistance based on ISO rolling resistance test [22]:
frr frr0

a b


where frr0 coefficient for case study tire has been listed in Table 4
and the following values are applicable for the other coefficients
of Eq. (24) [22]:
 For a passenger cars, a 0.4 and b 0.9
 For a trucks, a 0.2 and b 0.9
According to Eqs. (14) and (16), the p/p0 term in Eq. (24) can
be replaced by

1  qFz3

qFz3  qFz1
By substituting Eq. (25) in Eq. (24), a relationship between the
rolling resistance and the tire vertical stiffness is formed

kt qFz4 a
frr Krr 
where the constants Krr and qFz4 are defined as follows:

Fuel Consumption Analysis

When a tire is rolling, due to deflection of the carcass in the

ground contact area, the center of normal pressure is shifted in the
direction of rolling. This shift produces a negative moment about
the rotation axis of the tire, which is called the rolling resistance
moment. The rolling resistance is simply the manifestation of all
of the energy losses associated with the rolling of a tire under the
load. In a vehicle, approximately 515% of the fuel is consumed
to overcome the rolling resistance [20]. At low speeds, fuel consumption is determined up to 40% by the tire rolling resistance
[21]. It is clear that less-stiff tires (low inflation pressure tires)
increases the rolling resistance coefficient leads to more fuel consumption. Therefore, the fuel consumption criterion is defined
based on the rolling resistance coefficient. Because the higher
rolling resistance of a tire causes more fuel consumption, we can
consider the reverse of rolling resistance coefficient (frr ) as fuel
consumption criterion


Krr frr0 :qFz3 a :


qFz4 qFz1 qFz3  1


By combining Eqs. (23) and (26), the final form of fuel consumption criterion is written as follows:

kt qFz4 a

Figure 6 shows the effect of tire vertical stiffness variation on
the rolling resistance coefficient of the case study 195/65R15 tire.
Based on this figure, it is clear that by increasing the tire vertical
stiffness, the rolling resistance coefficient dramatically decreases,
leads to less fuel consumption. Hence, the optimum value of the
tire stiffness that provides the least fuel consumption is chosen
equal to 300 N/mm. It is the biggest practically possible value.


Fig. 5 Longitudinal slip stiffness versus tire vertical stiffness

Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control

Fig. 6 Rolling resistance coefficient as a function of tire vertical stiffness

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Based on the results that were discussed in Secs. 25, there is

no unique optimum tires vertical stiffness which satisfies ride,
handling, accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption
requirements simultaneously. For example, a soft tire provides
good ride quality, while the fuel consumption of a vehicle with
hard tires is better. In this section, with the combination of each
individual criterion discussed earlier, an evaluating function is
introduced which can provide a compromise among different vehicle characteristics in various situations. This evaluation function
can be presented as

performances) is plotted in Fig. 8. The radii represent the four

above-mentioned criteria that are normalized relative to their
greatest value. According to the figure, while the individually
optimized tires get the best rank (score 1) in their incorporating
aspect, they do not get an acceptable score in the others. For
instance, in the case of kt 300 N/mm which provides the best
fuel economy, it gets scores of 0.3, 0.7, and 0.45 in ride, handling,
and accelerating/braking performance, respectively, whereas, the
generally optimized tire gets the acceptable scores from different

EF kwR ksR CR kwH ksH CH kwP ksP CP kwFC ksFC CFC
where kwR, kwH, kwP, kwFC and ksR, ksH, ksP, ksFC are the weighting
factors and scaling factors, respectively. Weighting factors determine the relative importance of different terms, which in this
case, the same importance is considered for ride, handling,
accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption. Therefore, the entire weighting factors are equal to one. On the other
hand, because the different terms of Eq. (29) do not have the same
order of magnitude, the scaling factor is needed to equalize the
numerical values of them. Considering Eqs. (10), (17), (22), and
(28), for the case study tire, the average values of ride, handling,
accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption criteria
in the interval ktmin ; ktmax are 0.003, 64,300, 63,700, and 117,
respectively. The scaling factors of different criteria are selected
in such a manner that can compensate these numerical differences.
In other words, the scaling factors are defined as follows:
ksi 2
C dk 7
4 kt:min i t 5
kt:max  kt:min

i R; H; P & FC


which for the 195/65R15 case study tire, coefficients ksR, ksH, ksP,
and ksFC are 321, 0.0000155, 0.0000157, and 0.008, respectively.
Finally, in Eq. (29), the ride, handling, accelerating/braking
performance, and fuel consumption criteria can be substituted
from Eqs. (10), (17), (22), and (28), respectively, and the final
form of the evaluating function is found as follows:

ksR kwR
ksH kwH ah0 ah1 kt ah2 kt2 ah3 kt3 ah4 kt4
ar0 ar1 kt

 ksFC kwFC kt qFz4 a
ksp kwp ap0 ap1 kt  ap2 kt2




The results of analyses in Secs. 26 are based on simplified

models. In order to evaluate the effect of tire characteristics on the
vehicle behavior in an approximately real world situation, precise
simulations by using CarsimV software, which is a well-known
accurate vehicle dynamic simulation package [23], have been
For simulation studies, a compact, hatchback vehicle has been
considered as the case study vehicle. The main specifications of
the car are listed in the Table 5. This vehicle is equipped with different tires with same size of 195/65R15 but with different vertical stiffness as follows:

 An individually optimized tire for ride with kt 100 N/mm

 An individually optimized tire for handling with kt 140 N/mm
 An individually optimized tire for accelerating/braking performance with kt 170 N/mm
 An individually optimized tire for fuel consumption with
kt 300 N/mm
 A generally optimized tire which is optimized for all ride,
handling, performance and fuel consumption, concurrently,
with kt 195 N/mm.
For these tires, the values of ride, handling, and other metrics, as well as the evaluation functions are tabulated in Table
6. The characteristic curves of the lateral and longitudinal
forces of the five above-mentioned tires are obtained based on
the MF 6.1 tire model [19]. The curves have been illustrated in
Figs. 9 and 10 versus side slip angle and longitudinal slip ratio,
In Secs. 7.17.4 based on standard test procedures, the vehicle
performances in terms of ride, handling, braking performance,
and fuel consumption for different tires are simulated and

Maximizing Eq. (31) in the interval ktmin ; ktmax leads us to the

optimum value of vertical stiffness. For this purpose the critical
point of the evaluating function, in the interval ktmin ; ktmax
should be determined. The critical point yield to a local maximum, if the evaluating function is concave downward at this point
EF 0
d kt


EF < 0
d kt 2


If the evaluation functions value is larger than the function values at each endpoint of ktmin and ktmax , this point is the optimum
tires vertical stiffness. The optimum vertical stiffness of the tire
is found through the solving of Eq. (32) by using numerical techniques. As shown in Fig. 7, the optimum value of the vertical
stiffness for the case study 195/65R15 tire is about 195 N/mm.
A radar chart of the different performances of the generally
optimized tire for all ride, handling, accelerating/braking and fuel
consumption, in comparison with those of the individually
optimized tires (optimized only for one of the above-mentioned
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Fig. 7 The evaluation function (EF) versus tire vertical


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Fig. 8 Radar chart of the optimum tire vertical stiffness

Table 5 Main specifications of the case study vehicle



Vehicle sprung mass

Vehicle sprung mass
Front track
Rear track
CG height



7.1 Ride. In order to simulate the effects of the tire vertical

stiffness on the ride comfort at low and high frequencies, a standard test has been simulated on a straight sinusoidal road. For the
low frequency test, the vehicles with the speed of 20 m/s. pass
over the sinusoidal road. The spectral wavelength of the road is
selected in such way that the exciting frequency of 1Hz is provided. For the high frequency case, the speed of vehicles and
exciting frequency are 30 m/s. and 15 Hz, respectively. The relationship between the exciting frequency fR (Hz) and vehicle speed
u(m/s.) and roads spectral wavelength kR (m) is as follow:



The simulation results are shown in Fig. 11. At the low frequency ride test, there is no significant difference between the
vehicles center of gravitys vertical acceleration. However, in the
high frequency test, the softest tire (kt 100 N/mm) contributes
the best ride comfort. The maximum of the vertical acceleration

for the hardest tire is about 0.7 g, while this value for the vehicle
with the softest tire is 50% less. These results confirm the illustrated results of Figs. 2 and 3.
7.2 Handling. To evaluate the handling of the case study
vehicle with different tires, a double lane change (DLC) test is
selected. This test determines the characteristics of vehicles handling in a highly transient situation. DLCs are obstacle avoidance
maneuvers that frequently occur in the real world. The targeted
speed in this maneuver is 33 m/s. (120 km/hr.). The vehicle path
of the five mentioned vehicles during the test has been illustrated
in Fig. 12. As illustrated by this figure, by using the same driver
model, the target path is approximately achieved for all five
Also, Fig. 13 shows the yaw velocity, lateral acceleration, and
slip angle responses of the vehicles versus time. Because the
vehicles follow the same path and speed approximately, the lateral
acceleration and yaw rate responses of vehicles with different tires
are very similar. However, according Fig. 13(c), the slip angle
response of the vehicles are not the same. The maximum value of
slip angle for the vehicle with optimized for handling tire is about
1.5 deg, showing that it is in the safe zone completely. However,
for the vehicle with the hardest tire, this value is more than double
and reaches about 3.5 deg. For the vehicle equipped with generally
optimized tires (kt 195 N/mm), the maximum side slip angle is
about 2 deg. Although this value is a little more than 1.5 deg, it
still is in the safe zone [24,25].
7.3 Braking Performance. A severe straight-line braking
with initial speed of 27.7 m/s. (100 km/hr.) is utilized to evaluate

Table 6 The criterias value of 195/65R15 tire with different vertical stiffness


tire for ride
kt 100 N/mm

Optimized tire for

kt 140 N/mm

Optimized tire for

kt 170 N/mm

Optimized tire for fuel

kt 300 N/mm

Optimum tire in
kt 195 N/mm

Fuel consumption
Evaluation function






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Fig. 9 Lateral force versus side slip angle for different tires

the braking performance of the vehicles. This test is simulated on

a dry level road with the coefficient of friction of one. The reduction in vehicles speed versus time is shown in Fig. 14. This figure
shows that the maximum deceleration belongs to the vehicle with
kt 170 N/mm (optimized tire for accelerating/braking performance). As can be seen in Fig. 15, the stopping distance of this vehicle is about 68 m, while for the vehicle with the hardest tire, the
stopping distance is more than 75 m.
7.4 Fuel Consumption. As mentioned before, the rolling
resistance of tires affects fuel economy of vehicles. Hence, to
investigate the effect of tire vertical stiffness on fuel consumption,
we can compare their rolling resistances. The simplest way for
evaluating rolling resistance of tires is the coast down test method.
In this method, an engine-disengaged vehicle from a certain low

speed is released. The distance that the vehicle travels before it

stops is a measure of the vehicle rolling resistance. A longer stopping distance means a lower rolling resistance.
For this purpose, a simulation is done in which five coast-down
vehicles are released with the initial speed of 5.6 m/s (20 km/hr).
Each vehicle is equipped with a different set of tires as mentioned
earlier. Except the rolling resistance force, other resistance forces
for all the vehicles are the same. The longitudinal velocity of these
vehicles versus traveled distance from origin has been plotted in
Fig. 16, respectively. It is clear that the vehicle equipped with the
hardest tire kt 300 N/mm (optimized tire for fuel consumption)
has the longest stopping distance, about 220 m, whereas for the
vehicle with the softest tire this value reduces by more than 40%.
This value decreases just by 15% for the vehicle with generally
optimized tire.

Fig. 10 Longitudinal force versus slip ratio for different tires

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Fig. 11 Simulation results for ride test on the sinusoidal road:

(a) Low frequency and (b) high frequency

Fig. 13 Vehicle handling responses during double lane

change test: (a) Yaw velocity, (b) lateral acceleration, and (c)
Vehicle slip angle

Fig. 12 Path of the vehicles during double lane change test

Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control


In this paper, the influences of the tire vertical stiffness on the

ride comfort, handling, accelerating/braking performances, and
fuel economy of vehicles have been analytically investigated. Furthermore, a new method for determining the optimum tire vertical
stiffness has been developed. The proposed method is formed
based on definition of analytical performance criteria as functions
of tire vertical stiffness for the above-mentioned vehicle performances. Reverse of acceleration transmissibility function, tire cornering coefficient, tire longitudinal slip stiffness, and reverse of
DECEMBER 2015, Vol. 137 / 121004-9

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rolling resistance coefficient have been chosen as ride, handling,

accelerating/braking performance, and fuel consumption criterion,
respectively. Optimizing each individual criterion has determined
the optimum tire vertical stiffness from that perspective. At the
end, in order to compromise between ride, handling, accelerating/
braking performance, and fuel consumption of a vehicle, an evaluating function has been formed by combining the individual criteria. Maximizing the evaluating function determines the
generalized optimum tire vertical stiffness. Precise simulations by
using CarsimV software show that the generally optimized tire for
all aspects has been able to provide good performances in terms
of ride, handling, accelerating/braking, and fuel consumption,
while the individually optimized tires just provide good result in
their incorporated aspect and not in the others.


Fig. 14 Vehicle longitudinal velocity versus time during braking test

Fig. 15 Vehicle longitudinal velocity versus time during braking test

Fig. 16 Longitudinal velocity of vehicles versus time during

coast down test

121004-10 / Vol. 137, DECEMBER 2015

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