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Coupling Between 1D-3D Simulation Results to Predict Cavitation

in Motorcycle Forks
S. Falfari, F. Brusiani and P. Pelloni
University of Bologna

Copyright 2009 SAE International

ABSTRACT Surely, motorcycle front forks are good examples of

fluid-mechanic systems that can get benefit from
Fork system is a primary component for motorcycles simulation design tools. In fact, the motorcycle forks are
because it assures the contact between tires and road, made by several components usually arranged inside a
therefore the safety and the driving feeling. Usually fork very narrow space. It implies the impossibility to place
optimization and tuning are experimentally made sensors inside the fork system to correctly understand
involving the generation of a high large number of its fluid dynamic behavior.
prototypes and an expensive experimental campaign. To The state of the art of motorcycle forks modeling is
reduce the design and the tuning phases of a generic relatively undeveloped. Liberati et al. [1] presented a
damper system, the numerical simulation should be paper describing the development of a grey-box
considered. modeling of a racing motorcycle single tube shock
In this paper, a one-dimensional (1D) model of fore- absorber. Martins et al. [2] developed a CFD shock
carriage forks for road applications is presented. The absorber model. They focused their attention on the fluid
model was built-up in AMESim code. In particular, the dynamic analysis of the fluid flow through the clearance
authors attention was focused on the detection and between shock absorber piston and tube. Choon-Tae
analysis of cavitation phenomenon inside the fork. As Lee et al. [3] proposed a new mathematical model for
well known, the cavitation is a complex three- simulating displacement-sensitive shock absorber. The
dimensional (3D) phenomenon that implies the phase vehicle dynamic characteristics of the model were
transition. Cavitation development and prediction are evaluated in time and in frequency domains using a
beyond 1D model capabilities, therefore the 1D fork quarter car-simulation model. Falfari et al. [4] presented
model was improved by 3D Computational Fluid a 1D model of fore-carriage fork by using AMESim code.
Dynamic (CFD) multiphase simulations performed by Numerical results were compared with experimental
using Fluent v12 (beta version). 3D numerical results tests underlying the good agreement with test data and
were integrated into the 1D model to define a new the prediction capability of the proposed 1D model about
numerical test methodology able to reproduce the the fork performance.
overall fork behaviour. In the present paper, the 1D model approach defined in
All 1D numerical results were compared to experimental [4] is adopted to study the fluid dynamic behavior of a
damping force traces obtained for different fork rod axial new fork prototype designed by PAIOLI MECCANICA.
velocities. The fork here analyzed presented the overall geometry
previously presented in [4] but now it showed to be
INTRODUCTION critical from the cavitation point of view.
Cavitation phenomenon involves the simultaneous
Nowadays, virtual tests are mandatory to reduce the presence of liquid and vapour. In a fork, cavitation
time to market of new products. Simulation tools are implies decay of oil performances in terms of damping
helpful to understand the behavior of single components effect, resulting in a significant change of the damping
and their interaction. force evolution during the ride (fast change of vehicle
stability). Cavitation depends strongly not only on

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geometry and liquid characteristics, but also on the

actual operating conditions.
Generally, the cavitation onset and development
prediction is beyond 1D model capabilities because of its
3D evolution. The major drawback of 1D modelling is
that the critical cavitation number (Kcrit), at which the
transition from a single-phase flow to a two phase flow
happens, must be set a priori. To overcome this
problem, the 1D fork model set-up was integrated by the
data obtained performing 3D CFD simulations of the fork
by using Fluent v12 (beta version). In particular, the 3D
simulations were useful to determine the value of the
critical cavitation number depending on the actual
geometry and operating conditions inside the fork and to
define the evolution trend of the nozzle discharge
coefficient (Cd) under cavitating conditions.


This paper was organized in five main areas. In the first

part, brief descriptions of the damping rod fork system
and 1D fork model are provided.
In the second part,1D simulation results are presented
and compared to experimental results.
In the third part, 3D simulation set-up and cavitation
model are presented. Figure 1: Schematic representation of the considered
In the fourth part, 3D simulation results are presented fork assembly and detail of the fork valve group.
and discussed.
In the last part, the integration between 3D simulation In a typical damping rod fork (as the considered system)
and 1D model is presented and 1D results are newly the damping action is guaranteed by the combined
compared to experimental ones. action of elastic and hydraulic elements:
In the present paper all the data are dimensionless
because of PAIOLI MECCANICA discretion needs. y Elastic elements (springs) are responsible to
maintain the target fork height with respect to the
DESCRIPION OF THE DAMPING-ROD FORK y Hydraulic elements (oil flow through calibrated
SYSTEM orifices) are responsible to control the fork axial
velocity, damping the oscillations induced by the
In the present paper, a prototype fore-carriage fork springs;
designed by PAIOLI MECCANICA for motorcycle
For a complete description of the fork behavior during
application was considered. Figure 1 shows the overall
compression and rebound strokes the authors referred
fork geometry. The fork layout here considered was the
to [4].
same as in [4] but it was designed to equip motorcycles
having different performance. In particular, the fork
assembly here considered guaranteed a damping action DESCRIPTION OF THE FORK 1D MODEL
higher than the fork presented in [4].
The 1D fork model was built up using AMESim platform.
AMESim code is suitable to perform one-dimensional
(1D) lump simulation of hydraulic and pneumatic
systems [5]. Figure 2 shows a sketch of the AMESim
fork model.

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where b is the leakage perimeter, h is its height, and l is

its length. P is the dynamic viscosity.
The mass flow rate in rectilinear cylindrical shape
orifices was calculated distinguishing two cases:
y Non cavitating orifice;
y Cavitating orifice;

AMESim computes the mass flow rate by using the

classic approach:
m& A Cd 2 U ( p1  p2 ) (5)

Figure 2: Fork model sketch built into AMESim code. p1 is the hole upstream pressure;
p2 is the hole downstream pressure;
The overall 1D fork model was subdivided into three A is geometrical hole area;
different sub-models: mechanical, hydraulic, and U is the local fluid density;
pneumatic. Cd is the hole discharge coefficient;
Temperature dependency and friction forces were
In particular, Cd is calculated as:
neglected as in [1-4].
Re Re
O dh
2 U ( p1  p2 )
The mechanical damping-rod fork was modeled as a v
mass-spring-damper assembly applying the dynamic
second law: where:
Re is the Reynolds number
mx&&  cx&  k ' x F (1) O is the flow number;
dh is the hole hydraulic diameter;
where m is the mass of each component, c the viscous
damping coefficient, k the elastic constant, and F is the
net force applied to the mass along the fork axis CAVITATING ORIFICE
direction due to spring, friction, and pressure acting on
fork internal surfaces. For evaluating the orifice discharge coefficient the
following expression is used:
p1  p v (7)
A lump model was adopted to reproduce the flow Cd CC CC K
p1  p 2
behavior of elements as: chambers having variable or
constant volumes, calibrated orifices (turbulent flow), where:
and clearances characterized by laminar leakage. The pv is the vapor pressure at the local fluid temperature;
basic equation of the hydraulic lump model was the K is the cavitation number;
mass conservation equation that for a generic capacity
can be written as: Cc is the hole contraction coefficient evaluated by the
empirical expression:
V dp dV

B dt

dt Q i (2)


i CC  11.4
CC 0 d
where V is the volume of each chamber, B is the bulk
modulus, Qi is the inlet or outlet volumetric flow rate, and (Cco = 0.61 as proposed by Nurick [6] and r/d is the ratio
dV/dt is the pumping effect defined as: between hole inlet radium and hole diameter).
dV Substituting Eq. (7) into Eq. (5) the mass flow rate of the
Av (3) cavitating orifice can be expressed as:

where A is the moving element cross-section area and v m& A C C 2 U ( p1  p v ) (9)

is its velocity.
The fluid leakage flow rate through annular section was Eq. (9) states that the mass flow rate of a cavitating
defined as: nozzle is independent from the downstream pressure p2.
In particular, AMESim uses the cavitation number K to
b h3 distinguish if a hole is cavitating or not:
Q 'p (4)
12 P l

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p1  p2 1 liquid oil, which usually occurs at the highest axial

K' (10)
p1  pv K velocities, was not taken into account. Increasing
the foam formation a decay in the damping effect
And so: was expected because of the oil viscosity reduction;
' 1 y Simulations were isothermal;
K crit (11) y The fork valve lift was supposed to increase linearly
K crit
with the rod movement, while oscillations around its
When K is higher than a critical value (Kcrit) the flow equilibrium position could be expected;
through the nozzle is cavitating and the AMESim y The model could not account for manufacturing and
cavitation model is activated. The main problem of this assembling tolerances. As a consequence it
approach is to set a priori the Kcrit value. For example, reproduced the theoretical fork;
as stated by Schmidt [7], the critical cavitation number
Kcrit for a typical Diesel nozzle under steady fluid The overall set-up of the 1D fork model was made on
dynamic conditions could range from 2 to 1.45 the basis of authors previous work [4].
depending on parameters like percentage of non-
condensable gases dissolved in the main liquid phase, 1D FORK SIMULATION: NUMERICAL RESULTS
surface roughness, rounding radius of the hole inlet
edge, etc. The authors worked for many years about First of all, the fork fluid dynamic behavior was analyzed
cavitation analysis into injectors for automotive by the proposed 1D model. To validate the 1D model,
applications [8,9] identifying the Kcrit for these numerical results were compared to experimental ones
applications. However, only a small part of this in terms of fork hydraulic characteristic (damping force
experience can be applied to the fork analysis because vs piston rod displacement).
geometry and operating conditions are completely Fork hydraulic characteristic was experimentally
different. determined by PAIOLI MECCANICA using a MTS Shock
PNEUMATIC SUBMODEL Absorber Test System to acquire force, displacement,
and velocity of the tested fork. Figure 3 shows a single
The fork is always filled of oil except for the upper part of fork vertically positioned on the MTS tester.
the inner cylinder that is filled of air at the ambient Fork tests were performed moving up the piston till the
pressure pi (Figure 1). During the fork oscillations, the air operating point (its half stroke) and then exciting the fork
pressure changes according to the fork movement by different axial velocities with a sinusoidal
because the fork is sealed. The air pressure decreases displacement of 25 mm centred on the operating point.
during the fork extension and increases during the fork The same test methodology was used to perform 1D
compression. To find the right value of the air pressure numerical simulations.
at the operating starting point pf (typically half stroke), an Table 1 summarizes all the experimental configurations
isentropic compression was supposed: tested and reproduced by AMESim fork model.
pi Vik p f V fk (11)

where k is the air isentropic index (equal to 1.4) and Vi

and Vf are respectively the initial and final air chamber
The initial volume Vi of the air pressure was evaluated
Vi VTOT  VOIL (12)

where VTOT is the total inner fork volume at its maximum

extension, and VOIL is the oil volume filling the fork
The expression for the final volume Vf is:
Vf Vi  'Vstroke (13)

where 'Vstroke is the fork total volume variation related to

the effective stroke of the fork itself.
The main limits of the fork 1D model previously Figure 3: MTS Shock Absorber Test System adopted by
described were: PAIOLI MECCANICA to obtain the fork dynamic
y Oil viscosity was kept constant during the characteristics.
simulation. It involved that the foam onset inside the

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By a deep analysis of the 1D simulation results it was

Case ID Axial velocity [mm/s] possible to identify cavitating conditions (K > 0.5) for all
CASE 1 300 the compression holes during the rebound phase.
CASE 2 500 Figure 10 shows the K cyclic evolutions recorded during
the fork 1D simulations. As could be noted, passing from
CASE 3 600
300 to 600 mm/s the K value became higher than 0.5
CASE 4 700 during the rebound phase meaning that cavitation
CASE 5 800 structures were detected by AMESim code.
It is important to underline that the information about
CASE 6 900
cavitation obtained by AMESim code could be used only
CASE 7 1000 to extract generic fluid dynamic considerations because
CASE 8 1500 of the a priori definition of the Kcrit value.
On the basis of the previous considerations it was clear
Table 1: Experimental configurations reproduced by the that 1D numerical set-up had to be improved in terms of:
1D model.
y Critical cavitation number Kcrit;
As previously underlined, the cavitation model was y Compression holes discharge coefficient (Cd). This
activated for all the 1D fork simulations. It implies that a parameter significantly changes from cavitating to
Kcrit value had to be defined. In first instance a value of non-cavitating condition, therefore a specific Cd
0.5 was chosen for the Kcrit parameter. This value has profile has to be adopted when cavitation occurs;
to be considered as a first attempt value valid for holes
on thin and flat plane. To fill these gaps two possible ways could be used:
Figures from 4 to 9 show the comparison between y Experimental approach;
experimental and simulation results. Only some y Numerical approach by performing 3D CFD
experimental configurations between them reported in multiphase simulations of the fork.
Table 1 were reported for seek of brevity: they were
believed to be the most representative. Due to the impossibility to perform a detailed
These Figures depicted the asymmetric damping force experimental fork fluid dynamic analysis, the second
piston rod displacement trend of motorcycle forks: the approach was chosen.
maximum damping force during compression stroke is
less than the maximum damping force in the rebound
stroke. This asymmetry is due to the design of this
particular fork but this kind of trend is not a general rule SIM COMPRESSION STROKE
Dimensionless damping force [-]

for forks, although it represents the 90% of motorcycle

forks behaviour. Usually it is to consider that during the 0.5
rebound stroke the damping force must be greater than
during the compression stroke because the inner
hydraulic system has to brake the main spring force 0
(Figure 1), which is released during the rebound stroke
after a previous compression. On the other side during
the compression stroke the main work is made by the -0.5 REBOUND STROKE
main spring, while the hydraulic damping acts only after
a speed sinking stroke. In order to have more comfort on
particular roads, sometimes the main spring stiffness -1
has a low value, of consequence the global damping -20 -10 0 10 20
force piston rod displacement trend is symmetric. Piston rod displacement [mm]
Figure 5 (fork axial velocity equal to 500 mm/s) shows a
good agreement between experimental and simulation Figure 4: Experimental and simulated dimensionless
results during both compression and rebound strokes. damping force trace versus piston rod displacement
This result could be expected because the 1D model CASE 3: 300 mm/s.
set-up here adopted was derived from an authors
previous work performed on a similar fork geometry [4].
However, differently from the case presented in [4], now
increasing the fork axial velocity a disagreement
between experimental and simulation results was
detected. In particular, Figures 6-9 show that increasing
the fork axial velocity, the numerical underestimation of
the maximum rebound damping force progressively
increases becoming significant when the fork axial
velocity exceeds the 1000 mm/s (Figure 8).

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2 4
Dimensionless damping force [-]

Dimensionless damping force [-]


0 -2


-3 -10

-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20

Piston rod displacement [mm] Piston rod displacement [mm]

Figure 5: Experimental and simulated dimensionless Figure 8: Experimental and simulated dimensionless
damping force trace versus piston rod displacement damping force trace versus piston rod displacement
CASE 5: 500 mm/s. CASE 10: 1000 mm/s.

Dimensionless damping force [-]

Dimensionless damping force [-]
0 0

-3 -16

-4 -20
-20 -10 0 10 20
Piston rod displacement [mm]
-20 -10 0 10 20
Piston rod displacement [mm]
Figure 6: Experimental and simulated dimensionless
damping force trace versus piston rod displacement Figure 9: Experimental and simulated dimensionless
CASE 6: 600 mm/s. damping force trace versus piston rod displacement
CASE 11: 1500 mm/s.
1 SIM 5
Dimensionless damping force [-]

0 300 mm/s
600 mm/s
-1 4
Cavitation number K' [-]


-4 2
-20 -10 0 10 20
Piston rod displacement [mm] 0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
Figure 7: Experimental and simulated dimensionless Time [s]
damping force trace versus piston rod displacement Figure 10: K evolutions detected for a generic
CASE 7: 700 mm/s. compression holes passing from 300 to 600 mm/s.

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3D CFD FORK SIMULATION Figure 12 shows a sample of the pressure profiles

obtained by the 1D fork simulation previously presented.
The previously considerations extrapolated by the 1D The pressure profiles were dimensionless with respect
fork simulations suggested a deep analysis of the fluid to the correspondent maximum pressure values.
dynamic conditions across the four compression holes
because of the detected cavitating flow conditions. From 4
the hole discharge coefficient point of view, cavitating Pinlet

Dimensionless pressure profile [-]

flow is of primary importance because it determines Poutlet
mass flow choked condition. 3
To improve the prediction capabilities of the 1D fork
model, 3D CFD multiphase simulations were performed.


The main goal of the 3D CFD simulations was the 0.5
evaluation of the dynamic evolution of the fork
compression hole discharge coefficients as a function of 0
the fork axial velocity. For this reason, only the 0 0.5 1 1.5 2
computational domain reported in Figure 11 was Time [s]
considered to perform the 3D analysis. A 3D CFD run of
the whole fork is not feasible because of too high Figure 12: Pressure profiles applied on the inlet/outlet
computational effort, while a single 1D run takes about 2 system sections for a fork axial velocity equal to 600
minutes, a 3D CFD run of the domain of Figure 11 takes mm/s.
less than 3 hours.
To perform the CFD simulations, a fully unstructured
hexahedral mesh was generated by using ICEMcfd
mesh generator. The total number of cells was near
200000. Figure 13 shows the cell distributions inside the
considered volume portion.

Figure 11: Computational domain considered to perform

CFD multiphase analysis.

The pressure evolution on the inlet/outlet sections of

each compression hole was reproduced by the Figure 13: Unstructured hexahedral mesh adopted for
application of the 1D pressure profiles previously the considered fork volume portion.
recorded on the inlet/outlet system sections (Figure 11).

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MODEL (14)
Dt 3 Ul
To perform a multiphase CFD simulation, it is necessary
to adopt numerical model able to simultaneously The basic assumptions that ZGB adopted to develop a
manage different fluid phases and their interactions. The source term form for the total interphase mass transfer
mixture model is a multipurpose multiphase model that rate per unit volume (R) were:
can model n phases by solving the momentum,
y Bubble growth and collapse follows the simplified
continuity, and energy equations for the mixture, the
version of the RP equation;
volume fraction equations for the secondary phases, and
y Bubbles are assumed to grow from an initial
algebraic expressions for the relative velocities (if the
average radius of RB and return (when condensing)
phases are moving at different velocities). The authors
to bubbles of the same size;
referred to [10] for a complete description of the
multiphase model implemented in Fluent V12. y All the bubbles in a system have the same size;
Additionally to a generic multiphase model, to y The are no thermal barriers to the droplet growth.
numerically reproduce cavitation phenomena, an On the basis of these assumptions, ZGB defined R as:
addition transport equation for the vapor phase has to be
solved: DRB
R n4S RB2 Uv (15)
x uur
(DUv )  (DUv Vv ) Re  Rc (12)
xt where n is the number of bubbles per unit volume of the
mixture, available as nucleation sites. Substituting Eq.
where: (14) into Eq. (15):
D is the vapor volume fraction;
Uuuvr is the vapor density; 2 pv  p
R n4S RB2 Uv sgn( pv  p ) (16)
Vv is the vapor phase velocity; 3 Ul
Re is the mass transfer source term connected to the
vapor bubble growth; where n is given by:
Rc is the mass transfer source term connected to the
3D d
vapor bubble collapse. n Dm (17)
4S Rb3
This additional transport equation describes the liquid-
vapor mass transfer and it has to be solved together with during bubble vaporization, and:
the continuity and Navier-Stokes equations previously
3D v
presented for the mixture model. n (18)
In particular, to solve Eq. (12) it is necessary to model 4S Rb3
the mass transfer terms, Re and Rc by the cavitation
model. Different cavitation models adopt different during bubble condensation.
methodologies to model the mass transfer terms. In this Dm, Dv, and Dd represent respectively the volume
paper, the cavitation model proposed by Zwart-Gerber- fractions of the mixture, the vapor, and the dispersed
Belamri (ZGB) [11,12] was used. ZGB cavitation model phases. n is not the only parameter who changes
is based on the Rayleigh-Plesset equation (RP) [13] that depending on the direction of the phase change
describes the dynamic growth of a gas bubble nucleated (vaporization/condensation). In fact, the vaporization and
inside a liquid. condensation processes are also characterized by
The general form of RP equation is: different time scales: the condensation process is
typically slower than the evaporation process. To take
2 into account this difference, an empirical constant factor
D 2 RB 3 DRB pB  p 4Vl 2S
RB   RB  (13) F has to be introduced in Eq. (16). All in all, the final
Dt 2 2 Dt U l RB U l RB equations for Re and Rc source terms are:
where: 3D nuc 1  D v Uv 2 pv  p
Re Fvap (19)
RB is the bubble radius; RB 3 Ul
S is the liquid surface tension;
Ul is the liquid density; if p e pv (vaporization) and:
pB is the bubble surface pressure;
p is the local far-field pressure. 3D v Uv 2 p  pv
Rc Fcond (20)
RB 3 Ul
Usually, within an Eulerian-Eulerian frameworks for
multiphase flow, a first order approximation of Eq. (13) is if p ! pv (condensation).
adopted neglecting also the surface tension force. By
Typical values for F are: 50 when vaporization occurs
these reductions, the Eq. (13) becomes:
and 0.001 when condensation occurs. These values
were obtained by experimental testing performed by [14]
and [15].

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To use the presented cavitation model is necessary to at the vapor pressure and nominal fluid temperature.
define two other parameters: the mass fraction of non- The air was treated as ideal gas by the gas equation of
condensable dissolved gas Dnuc and an estimation of the state (local pressure and temperature information from
bubble radius RB. Typical values for these parameters the solution was used) and its concentration was set to
can be assumed as reported in Table 2. 0.1% as for the 1D simulations. Dissolved air was
considered because all liquids contain some dissolved
RB [m] 10e-6 gases: it is virtually impossible to eliminate them from
any substantial liquid volume [13].
Dnuc [-] 5e-4 Table 3 summarizes the physical characteristics of the
three fluid components (reference temperature 298.15
Table 2: Cavitation model parameters.
Diffusive and convective fluxes were discretized
adopting first-order upwind scheme while turbulence
SIMULATION SET-UP was simulated by a standard k-H turbulence model
All the fork CFD simulations were performed by using [17,18].
Fluent v12 (Beta version), adopting a segregated flow
solver together with a fully implicit first-order transient Oil Fluid Oil Vapor Air
scheme [10]. In particular, to simulate the cavitation
phenomena, the mixture model was adopted together Density [kg/m^3] 875 0.0275 Ideal
with the Zwart-Gerber-Belamri (ZGB) cavitation model.
The adopted cavitation model was previously validated
on a typical simple throttle nozzle geometry for which Viscosity [kg/ms] 0.02839 7e-6 1.78e-5
experimental data were provided by Ferguson [16]. In
particular, Figure 14 shows the comparison between the Sat. pressure [Pa] - 2370 -
experimental and the numerical mass flow profiles. As
showed, the ZGB cavitation model predicted choked Table 3: Fluid physical characteristics.
mass flow value in reasonable agreement with 3D SIMULATION RESULTS
By using the computational domain previously
25 presented, five 3D multiphase CFD simulations were
run. Table 4 shows the considered cases. These cases
24 were chosen on the basis of 1D model results which
denoted the fork axial velocity range between 600 and
23 700 mm/s as the transition range from non-cavitating to
Mass Flow [kg/hr]

cavitating conditions.
Case ID Axial velocity [mm/s]
21 CASE 3 300
CASE 6 600
Experimental mass flow profile
20 Numerical mass flow profile CASE 8 800
CASE 10 1000
0,8 0,83 0,86 0,89 0,92 0,95 0,98 CASE 11 1500
Root (DP/Prif) [-]
Table 4: Experimental configurations reproduced by the
Figure 14: Comparison between numerical and 3D simulation.
experimental nozzle mass flow profiles.
By the CFD simulations the compression hole incipient
cavitation condition was detected for a fork axial velocity
In all the simulations a flow with two-phases three- of 1000 mm/s, during the fork rebound phase. Figure 15
components was considered, assuming no interphase shows the velocity magnitude and vapor volume fraction
slip and thermal equilibrium between any observed inside the compression holes at the maximum
phase/component (Homogeneous Equilibrium Model).
'P value across the hole itself (fork axial velocity equal
The following phases were considered:
to 1000 mm/s). During this working phase the flow
y Fork oil in fluid state (primary phase); thought the compression holes was directed from the
y Fork oil in gaseous state (secondary phase); hollow tube to the external cylinder (Figure 1).
y Air as non-condensable gas (dissolved phase); Increasing the fork axial velocity, the cavitation
increased its intensity in terms of both vapor zone
The primary phase was treated as incompressible and expansion and vapor volume fraction. Figure 16 shows
the vapor density was assumed as a constant, evaluated the velocity magnitude and vapor concentration at the

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fork axial velocity of 1500 mm/s (same solution time was treated as an ideal gas. Dissolved non-condensable
showed in Figure 15). gas has a significant influence on the fluid dynamic
behaviour of a component and, in particular, on
cavitation evolution. In fact, when voids are generated
inside a liquid flow containing dispersed gas, the void
filling process could be subdivided into two steps [13]:
y Firstly, when the local pressure of a liquid is
reduced sufficiently, dissolved gas starts to come
out of solution and it is diffused into the voids;
y Secondly, when pressure in the liquid is further
reduced, evaporation pressure of the liquid is
reached and the liquid starts to evaporate filling with
vapor the cavity.
By using the multiphase model here adopted it was
possible to reproduce the air compression/expansion
during the 3D CFD simulations.
(a) (b) Figure 17 shows the air volume fraction distribution
Figure 15: (a) Velocity magnitude and (b) vapor volume across the compression holes at a fork axial velocity of
fraction (Blue = 99.9% liquid Red = 100% vapor) 600 mm/s (3D simulation). Corresponding to the low
detected for a fork axial velocity of 1000 mm/s. pressure zone underlined in Figure 17-a, the air volume
concentration increased of 4 times (Figure 17-b) filling
the voids generated into the main liquid phase. The air
expansion could be considered as a sort of protection
from the cavitation. Only when the air expansion was not
enough to compensate the pressure reduction (fork axial
velocity higher than 1000 mm/s), the liquid vaporization
started. Also in AMESim a non-condensable gas
percentage equal to 0.1% was considered but it was not
possible to take into account its effect on the cavitation
evolution, therefore voids could be filled only by liquid
By these considerations, it was possible to state that:
y For fork axial velocity ranging from 600 to 1000
mm/s the disagreement between experimental and
1D numerical results (Figures 6-8) was due to air
expansion inside the fork compression holes which
(a) (b) reduced their discharge attitude;
Figure 16: (a) Velocity magnitude and (b) vapor volume y For fork axial velocity ranging from 1000 to 1500
fraction (Blue = 99.9% liquid Red = 100% vapor) mm/s the disagreement between experimental and
detected for a fork axial velocity of 1500 mm/s. 1D numerical results (Figures 8-9) was due to
cavitation phenomena detected inside the fork
3D CFD results were in agreement with 1D results in compression holes.
terms of cavitation generation phasing. In both cases,
inside the fork compression holes cavitation was All these considerations can be summarized in term of
detected during the fork rebound phase. On the other K, mass flow, and Cd evolutions.
hand, 3D and 1D approaches were in disagreement Figure 18 shows the relation between the K and the
about the cavitation inception point: mass flow rate evolutions for a compression hole. As
y 600 mm/s was the fork axial velocity at which 1D expected from the previous considerations, the K value
approach identifies cavitation inception condition; became constant (and equal to its critical value Kcrit) for
fork axial velocity higher than 1000 mm/s. Over this fork
y 1000 mm/s was the fork axial velocity at which 3D displacement velocity the mass flow through the
approach identifies cavitation inception condition; compression hole became almost constant meaning that
choked flow condition was reached.
The disagreement between 1D and 3D results in terms
Figure 19 shows the relation between Cd and K
of cavitation inception condition could be explained
evolutions. As expected, until the displacement velocity
considering the effect of non-condensable gases
value of 1000 mm/s, the Cd value progressively
dissolved into the main liquid phase.
decreased because of the air expansion increased with
As described in the 3D simulation set-up section, the
the fork vertical velocity (i.e. with the velocity magnitude
non-condensable gas percentage was set to 0.1% and it
across the hole). After the displacement velocity value of

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1000 mm/s the Cd value decreased more rapidly 3 0.55

because of cavitation inception and evolution.
It is to underline as the Kcrit value extrapolated by the 2.5

Discharge coefficient Cd [-]

3D multiphase analysis was quite different with respect

Cavitation number K' [-]

to the value defined a priori to perform the 1D 2 0.5
simulations previously presented.

1 0.45

0.5 K'
0 0.4
0 500 1000 1500 2000
Vertical velocity [mm/s]

Figure 19: Cd and cavitation number K profiles for a

compression hole.



3D results in terms of Cd and K evolutions were

(a) (b) implemented into the AMESim set-up of the four
compression holes. The goal was to obtain a fully
Figure 17: (a) Static pressure distribution and (b) air predictive 1D model on the whole fork axial velocity
volume fraction concentration detected for a fork axial working range. Next, the new 1D simulation results are
velocity of 600 mm/s (Blue = Lower value Red = presented.
Higher value).
3 0.24
K' Figures from 20 to 24 show the most significant
Dimensionless mass flow rate Q [-]

2.5 Qth 0.2 comparisons between:

y Experimental data (named EXP);
Cavitation number K [-]

2 0.16
y Stand-alone 1D model, i.e. model without any
integration with 3D results (named SIM);
1.5 0.12
y 1D model integrated by 3D results (named SIM 1D-
1 0.08

As it can be observed, now the agreement between

0.5 0.04
simulation and experiment was drastically improved and
all the discrepancies underlined in Figures 6-9 were
0 0 fixed.
0 500 1000 1500 2000
Vertical velocity [mm/s] These results confirmed not only the validity of the
proposed methodology, but also that the discrepancies
previously detected were enrolled to an incorrect 1D set-
Figure 18: Dimensionless mass flow rate and cavitation up of Cd and K values.
number K profiles for a compression hole.

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Dimensionless damping force [-]


Dimensionless damping force [-]

1 2


-4 -10
-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20
Piston rod displacement [mm] Piston rod displacement [mm]

Figure 20: Experimental and simulated dimensionless Figure 23: Experimental and simulated dimensionless
damping force trace, with and without 3D integration, damping force trace, with and without 3D integration,
versus piston rod displacement CASE 6: 600 mm/s. versus piston rod displacement CASE 10: 1000 mm/s.

3 12
2 SIM 8
Dimensionless damping force [-]


Dimensionless damping force [-]

1 4

0 0

-5 -24
-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20
Piston rod displacement [mm] Piston rod displacement [mm]

Figure 21: Experimental and simulated dimensionless Figure 24: Experimental and simulated dimensionless
damping force trace, with and without 3D integration, damping force trace, with and without 3D integration,
versus piston rod displacement CASE 7: 700 mm/s. versus piston rod displacement CASE 11: 1500 mm/s.

Dimensionless damping force [-]

2 SIM 1D-3D
In this paper a new integrated 1D-3D methodology was
defined and tested to reproduce the fluid dynamic
behavior of a fork for motorcycle application. In
0 particular, authors attention was focused on the
cavitation problem.
-2 First of all, the fork was studied by using its 1D model
implemented in AMESim code. 1D cavitation model was
used to understand where and how cavitating flow
conditions could be reached. By 1D simulations it was
possible to obtain a good reproduction of the fork overall
-6 performance in comparison to the experimental results.
-20 -10 0 10 20 However, above axial fork velocities of 600 mm/s the 1D
Piston rod displacement [mm] model results provided an underestimation of the
maximum fork rebound characteristic. In particular, this
Figure 22: Experimental and simulated dimensionless underestimation became significant above fork axial
damping force trace, with and without 3D integration, velocity of 1000 mm/s. A deep analysis of the 1D
versus piston rod displacement CASE 8: 800 mm/s.

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simulation results highlighted how cavitation occurred 6. Nurick, W.H., Orifice Cavitation and Its Effects on
inside the compression holes during the rebound phase. Spray Mixing,, J. Fluid Eng., Vol. 98, pp. 681-
Therefore the authors identified the 1D cavitation set-up 687,1976.
as one of the main problem of the discrepancy between 7. Schimdt, D. P., and Corradini, M. L.Analytical
experimental and numerical results. Prediction of Exit Flow in Cavitating Orifices,
To solve the problem, the fluid dynamic conditions Atomization and Sprays, Vol. 7, pp. 603-616, 1997.
across the compression holes were studied adopting a 8. Bianchi, G.M., Falfari, S., Parotto, M., Osbat, G.,
3D CFD multiphase simulation approach by using Fluent Advanced Modeling of Common Rail Injector
v12 (beta version). CFD simulations underlined as: Dynamics and Comparison with Experiments, SAE
y Above fork axial velocities of 600 mm/s a significant 2003-01-0006, March 2003, SAE 2003
air expansion was detected inside the compression Transactions- SAE Journal of Engines, Vol. 112, pp.
holes producing a reduction of their Cd value. 55-73.
Moreover the air expansion acted as a sort of 9. Bianchi, G.M., Falfari, S., Brusiani, F., Pelloni, P.,
cavitation protection until the fork axial velocity of Osbat, G., Parotto, M., Lamberti, C., Advanced
1000 mm/s; Modelling of a New Diesel Fast Solenoid Injector
y Above fork axial velocities of 1000 mm/s the liquid and Comparison with Experiments, SAE 2004-01-
pressure was further reduced and liquid 0019, March 2004, SAE 2004 Transactions- SAE
evaporation started; Journal of Engines, Vol. 113, pp. 1-15
10. Fluent v12 User Manual, Fluent Inc.
Results from CFD simulations were derived in terms of
11. Zwart, P. J., Gerber, A. G., Belamri, T., A Two-
Kcrit and Cd values. These were integrated into the 1D
Phase Flow Model for Predicting Cavitation
fork model obtaining a significant improvement about its
predictive capabilities on all the whole considered fork Dynamics, Fifth International Conference on
vertical velocity working range. Multiphase Flow, Yokohama, Japan, 2004.
This result confirms not only the validity of the proposed 12. Bakir, F., Rey, R., Gerber, A. G., Belamri, T.,
methodology but also the importance about the Hutchinson, B., Numerical and Experimental
integration between 1D and 3D simulation approaches. Investigations of the Cavitating Behavior of an
On the basis of the numerical results here presented, Inducer, International Journal of Rotating Machine,
the fork prototype was improved by PAIOLI 10: 15-25, 2004.
MECCANICA in terms of damping effect evolution along 13. Benner, C. E., Cavitation and Bubble Dynamics,
the fork rebound phase. Oxford University Press, 1995.
14. Gerber, A. G., A CFD Model for Devices Operating
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Under Extensive Cavitation Condition, IMEC, New
Orleans, USA, IMECE 2002-39315, 2002.
Authors would like to thanks PAIOLI MECCANICA for its 15. Shen, Y., Dimotakis, P., A The Influence of Surface
support and collaboration about paper drawing. Cavitation on Hydrodynamic Forces, Proc. 22
ATTC, St. Hohns, pp. 44-53, 1989.
REFERENCES 16. Ferguson, S., Validation of CFD Throttle
Cavitation, Computational Dynamic Limited, UK,
1. Liberati M., Beghi, A., Mezzalira S., Peron S., Grey- 2001.
box Modelling of a Motorcycle Shock Absorber, 17. Ferziger, J. H., Peric, M., Computational Methods
TuB09.2, 43rd IEEE Conference on Decision and for Fluid Dynamics, Springer, 2001.
Control, December 2004, Bahamas. 18. Versteeg, H. K., Malalasekera, W., An Introduction
2. Martins P. F., Spogis N., De la Rosa Squeira C., to Computational Fluid Dynamics, Longman, 2007.
Development and Validation of a CFD Model to
Investigate the Oil Flow in a Shock Absorber, SAE DEFINITIONS
2005-01-4030 E, SAE Brasil 2004, Brasil.
3. Choon-Tae Lee, Byung-Young Moon, Simulation A: Area [m2]
and Experimental Validation of Vehicle Dynamic Ap: Piston area [m2]
Characteristics for Displacement-sensitive Shock Arod: Rod area [m2]
Absorber Using Fluid-Flow Modeling, Mechanical B: Bulk modulus [Pa]
System and Signal Processing 2004, Elsevier. b: Leakage perimeter of annulus section [m]
4. Falfari, S., Brusiani, F., Cazzoli, G., Setup of a 1D c: Viscous dampimg coefficient [kg/s]
Model for Simulating Dynamic Behaviour of Cc: Contraction coefficient [-]
Motorcycle forks, SAE 2009-01-0226, SAE Cd: Discharge coefficient [-]
International Congress and Exhibition, Detroit, USA d: Hole diameter [m]
2009. Fspring: Spring force [N]
5. AMESim User Manual, v. 8.0 Fdamp: Damping force [N]
Ffriction: Friction force [N]
h: Height of annulus section [m]

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k: Elastic constant [kg/s2] GREEK LETTERS

k: Isentropic index of air [-]
K: Cavitation number [-] D: vapor volume fraction [-]
l: Length of annulus section [m] U: Fluid density [kg/m3]
m: Mass [kg] Ul: Liquid density [kg/m3]
n: Number of bubbles per unit volume of the mixture Uv: Vapor density [kg/m3]
p: Pressure [Pa] P: Dynamic viscosity [kg/ms]
Q: Volumetric flow rate [m3/s]
r: hole inlet radius [m] SUBSCRIPT
RB: Bubble radius [m]
S: Liquid surface tension [N/m2] Ch2: Chamber 2
v: Velocity [m/s] Ch3: Chamber 3
V: Volume [m3] m: mixture
Vv : Vapor phase velocity [m/s] nuc: non-condensable dissolved gas
v: vapour
d: dispersed phase

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