Proceedings of the 45th IEEE Conference on Decision & Control
Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel
San Diego, CA, USA, December 1315, 2006
WeIP2.19
The Performance Improvements
of Train Suspension Systems with Inerters
FuCheng Wang, ChungHuang Yu, MongLon Chang, and Mowson Hsu
AbstractThis paper investigates the performance benefits
of train suspension systems employing a new mechanical
network element, called Inerter. Combined with traditional
passive suspension elements  dampers and springs, Inerter
is shown to be capable of improving the performance, in
terms of the passenger comfort, system dynamics and
stability (safety), of the train suspension systems.
Furthermore, a motordriven platform is constructed to
test the properties of suspension struts with inerters.
I. INTRODUCTION
T HE analogy between mechanical and electrical
1 network systems is well known. By comparing the
dynamic equations there are two analogies, namely the
"forcevoltage" and the "forcecurrent" analogies,
between the mechanical and electrical systems. The
former analogy was frequently used in the old times when
voltage was normally considered as electromotive force.
The later analogy is more popular now because the
current in electrical systems, as the force in mechanical
systems, is regarded as a through variable in networks.
The standard forcecurrent analogy is illustrated in Fig. 1.
From Fig. 1 it is noted that one terminal of "mass" is
always grounded, so that electrical networks with
ungrounded capacitors do not have a direct
springmassdamper analogy. As a result, it potentially
narrows the class of passive mechanical impedances
which can be physically realized [11]. It was from the
appreciation of the gap in the old mechanical/electrical
analogy that a new mechanical element, called Inerter,
was proposed. A new network analogy is shown in Fig. 2,
with the Inerter symbol and the defining equation as
follows:
F
in which F, v and b represent the force, velocity and
inertance of the system respectively [10].
F.:
henchanical
dtF
k(V2
Fdt
fcw@ntu.edu.tw).
ChungHuang Yu is with the Institute of Rehabilitation Science and
Technology at National YangMing University, 155 LiNang Street, Section
2, Taipei 112, Taiwan. (email: chyu@ym.edu.tw).
MongLon Chang was with the Mechanical Engineering Department of
National Taiwan Univeristy, and is now a research engineer with the Mitac
International corp., Taipei, Taiwan. (email: r92522824@ntu.edu.tw).
Mowson Hsu was with the Mechanical Engineering Department of
National Taiwan Univeristy, and is now a research specialist with Min Aik
Technology Co.,Ltd., Taoyun, Taiwan. (email: r92522818@ntu.edu.tw).
1424401712/06/$20.00 2006 IEEE.
L,
F=
Manuscript received on February 22, 2006, and revised on August 28,
2006. This work was supported in part by the National Science Council of
Taiwan under Grant 932218E002115 and 942218E002063.
FuCheng Wang is with the Mechanical Engineering Department of
National Taiwan Univeristy, No.1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617,
Taiwan. (phone: +886233662680; fax: +886223631755; email:
/e
Electrical
?S2
L Lt r~ ~(S) s
V2
Fig. 1: The old forcecurrent mechanical/electrical network analogy [10].
bd(v2dtv)
V1)
sprinLg
LV"
Y(S) =L
dt=!L
dt =
Y(8) = bs
v2rs)R8
LI(V2 V1)
capacitor
0
dal r
i =Cd(V2Vl)
bd(V2VI)
capaistor
digd:Tenwmcaia/lcrclntwranlg[1]
With the introduction of Inerter, mechanical and electrical
network systems become really analogous to each other,
and all passive network impedance/admittance can be
physically realized via three mechanical elements springs, dampers and inerters. Consequently it allows a
broader use of passive network impedance/admittance to
potentially increase the performance of passive
mechanical systems. The first successful application of
Inerter is to vehicle suspension design [11,12], where
several combing layouts of inerters, dampers and springs
were optimized for various performance criteria. It was
concluded that some layouts are more suitable than others
In [9] the
for particular performance criterion.
optimization was further carried out by the LMI (Linear
1 472
45th IEEE CDC, San Diego, USA, Dec. 1315, 2006
Matrix Inequalities) method, where all passive transfer
functions with fixed order were optimized for various
performance measurements. The resulting passive
networks were then synthesized by BottDuffin
realization method. It was shown that the system
performance can be further improved by allowing higher
order passive impedance, with the drawback of very
complicated network synthesis. The second application of
Inerter is the mechanical steering compensator of
highperformance motorcycles [2], where Inerter was
used to replace a conventional steering damper in order to
stabilize the system in both of the "wobble" and "weave"
modes.
In this paper we discuss the performance benefits to the
train systems by applying inerter to the suspension design.
The train suspension system is more complicated than the
vehicle suspension system in that there is one more
component bogie  between the body and the wheel.
Two suspension struts are placed to connect the body and
bogie, and the bogie and wheel. This paper is arranged as
follows: in section II a onewheel train suspension system
is introduced. The dynamics of the system with three
suspension layouts, namely the conventional, the parallel
and the serial layouts, is described and optimized for two
performance measurements. It is shown that those
performance criteria can be improved by applying inerters
to the suspension design. In Section III the lateral stability
of train suspension systems is discussed. It is illustrated
that the critical speed is significantly increased by
applying inerter to the lateral suspension design. In
section IV, Inerter is realized by the ballscrew structure,
and a motordriven testing platform is constructed to
verify the properties of this model. Finally, some
conclusions are drawn in the last section.
II. OneWheel Train Suspension System
A. OneWheel Train Suspension Model
WelP2.1 9
stiffness kb and damping rate Cb. The vertical reaction of
the wheel and rail track is modeled as a parallel
combination of spring kw and damper c,. The system
inputs are F, and z, which represent the vertical force and
track irregularities respectively, while the system outputs
are Zs, Zb and z, which represent the vertical displacements
of the body, bogie and wheel respectively. Three
suspension layouts, namely the conventional, parallel
and serial arrangements as illustrated in Fig. 4, are
considered in both of the Q, and Q2 cases.
I
Fig. 4: Three suspension layouts: conventional, parallel, serial arrangements.
B. Dynamic Equations
(a). The Conventional Suspension
The dynamic equations of a onewheel train system
with traditional suspension, as shown in Fig. 5(a), are as
follows:
(1)
Ms Zs= Fs  Us
1
MbZb
mWzW
in which
(2)
(3)
Us Ub,
Ub Uw;
+ ks (Zs
s
Us(=(Zb)
)+kb (Zb
Ub = Cb (Zb
(4)
Zb )
(5)
Zw),
(6)
uw =C(Zw Zr) +kw (Zw Zr).
Taking Laplace transformation of (16) results in the
transfer matrix:

LY(s) = RU(s),
where Y(s) [Zs Zb ]w U(s)
m
L=
s2 +CcSs + k
css  ks
C k
R=O
Ps[Fs
Mbs 2+ (Cs + COs + ks + k
Cbs kb

(7)
Zr]
0
 k,b
mws + (cb + CW) )s +
kb + kw
Cws+kw]
and " " represents the Laplace transform of the
corresponding variables. Since L is nonsingular, (7) can
be simplified as:
Y(s) =L 1RU(s) = G(s)U(s)
(8)
Note that G(s) is a threebytwo system transformation
matrix.
(b). Parallel Inerter between the Body and the Bogie
There are several ways of applying inerter to the
suspension design. First of all, considering the parallel
inerter arrangement between the body and the bogie
illustrated in Fig. 5(b), the dynamic equations of the
system are as (16) except (4) is modified as follows:
.
(a) freebody diagram.
(b) suspension arrangement.
Fig. 3: A onewheel train suspension system.
A onewheel train suspension system is shown in Fig. 3,
where mS, mb and m, represent the masses of the train
body, bogie and wheel respectively. Q, represents the
suspensions between the body and the bogie with
stiffness k, and damping rate c,; Q2 represents the
suspensions between the bogie and the wheel with
us =b(s Zb)+Cs(Zs Zb)+ks(Zs Zb)
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45th IEEE CDC, San Diego, USA, Dec. 1315, 2006
with the Laplace transform
(a)
u, = (bs + css + ks )(zs
Zb ) .
(c)
(b)
WelP2.1 9
The above transfer functions are derived by Maple.
It is noted that the system dynamics can also be
described by the statespace form with state variables
x =[Z z Zb Zb z T . And an extra state, Zbb or
ZWW illustrated in Fig.5(c), (e) needs be used with the
serial arrangements. Actually, for complicated models,
such as the full train model, statespace representation is
more convenient than than transfer function models.
Another way to obtain the dynamic models of
complicated systems is to use multibody system
and SimMechanics~~~TM
packages, such as AutoSimT TM
C. Performance Index
There are several indexes to evaluate performance of
train suspension systems. Among them, the passenger
comfort and system damping ratio are chosen to illustrate
the performance benefits by Inerter. The passenger
comfort index is defined as the r.m.s. of body vertical
acceleration, which was derived in [11] as:
J1 =Tz.<zs  = IT,_>ZS 1 
Another performance index is the system damping ratio.
By adjusting the suspension settings the minimal
damping ratio of the system can be maximized as:
4min = sup min{Mj.
(d)
(e)
Fig. 5: Five suspension arrangements of the onewheel train system.
(c). Serial Inerter Between the Body and the Bogie
Now considering the serial arrangement of Fig. 5(c),
where the spring in parallel with a serial damperinerter
set, the system dynamic equations are as in (16) with
one more equation:
b( Zbb) = Cs(4bb Zb)
and the suspension force us in (4) is modified as:
US
(cbs2
+ ks)(S Zb)
=(s
Cs + bs
(d). Parallel Inerter Between the Bogie and the Wheel
Considering the parallel arrangement of inerter
between the bogie and the wheel, as shown in Fig. 5(d),
the dynamics equations of the system are similar to (16)
except the suspension force ub is modified as follows:
Ub = b(4 w) + Cb(b w )+ k(Zb
Zw)
(
with the Laplace transform Mb = (bs2 + CbS + kb )(Zb w)
(e). Serial Inerter between the Bogie and the Wheel
Now considering Fig. 5(e) where a serial arrangement
of inerter is placed between the bogie and the wheel, the
dynamic equations of the system can be expressed as
(16) with one more equation:
b(Zb Z
~w) =cs (Z'ww
Z w )7
and the suspension force us in (4) is modified as:
ebbs2
ks)Ub w)
b
Cbcb +bs
=
D. Performance Benefits k,c,b
In this section, the performance benefits by employing
inerter to the suspension design are investigated. The
following parameters from [6] are used for numerical
simulations: ms=3500 kg, mb=250 kg, mw=350 kg,
k5=141 N/mm, cs=8.87 Ns/mm, kb=1260 N/mm, Cb=7.1
Ns/mm, kw = 8X1 06 N/mm, cw=670 Ns/mm. The
testing models are illustrated in Table 6, where in group
A the suspension elements between the body and the
bogie are optimized while in group B the suspension
elements between the bogie and the wheel are optimized.
The optimization is carried out numerically in Matlab'TM
by adjusting the damping and inerter settings for various
spring stiffness values.
Models
Descriptions
A1
Fig. 5(a): Conventional suspension in Q(
Optimization over cs
A2
Fig. 5(b): Parallel suspension in Q(
Optimization over cs and b
A3
Fig. 5(c): Serial suspension in Q(
Optimization over cs and b
B1
Fig. 5(a): Conventional suspension in Q2
Optimization over Cb
B2
Fig. 5(d): Parallel suspension in Q2
Optimization over Cb and b
B3
Fig. 5(e): Serial suspension in Q2
Optimization over Cb and b
Table 6: The testing models.
(a). Optimization of J1
Using group A suspensions, the optimization results
are shown in Fig. 7, where the horizontal axis is the
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45th IEEE CDC, San Diego, USA, Dec. 1315, 2006
static stiffness of k, and the four separated plots illustrate
the optimal J1, the percentage performance improvement,
the corresponding optimal damping rate c, and inertance
b. It is noted that up to 12% performance improvement is
achieved by serial arrangement (A3).
120
WeIP2.19
responses of the body vertical displacement zs to the
system inputs Fs=IN and Zr =1mm are shown in Fig. 9.
2
10,
1.8
E 1.6
1.4
N1.5
1.2
14
In
LL
100
Ea) 8
60
40
E)>
~~A1
X,
20
0.5
x
ksst
1.5
ol
2.5
x
o
LA
0.5
10o
10o
ksst
1.5
.4
'E3
51
10o
A2
In
1Q _
0
0.5
ksst
1.5

051 kSt 15
2.5
ks t
10o
Fig. 7: Optimization of J1 using grout pA
265
x0xlO
suspensions.
Similarly, the optimization result s using group B
suspensions are shown in Fig. 8, where up to 5%
improvement of J1 is achieved by seriial arrangement (B3).
Compared the values of J1 in Fig. 7 8, the best way to
improve the passenger comfort (J11 is to adopt serial
inerter between the bogie and the wh( zel (B3).
501
35
1.2
B3
a)
30
25
20
E3
kbSt
X l
x 10
In
T 0.8
In
0.6
04
a0
kbSt
a)
lo'
U)
x 10
ob2.5
B
'3 2
U)
B3
ofT
0.4
0.6
B1
B2
0.2
B,
1
2
3
time (sec)
Fig. 10: Step responses
06
081
02
B2
0.2100L
a)
1.41
T 1.2
8 F
1.6
In
o'
n4
)Z with optimal group A suspensions.
LL
2
oI
TZ
1n
a)
B3
Similarly, with group B suspensions the improvement
4min is achieved by up to 49 %. For example, at
k,=1800 N/mm, the system minimal damping ratios are
=0.21168 for B1 with c,=487.68Ns/mm,
Smin =0.21173 for B2 with c,=487.01Ns/mm and
b=207.44kg, and 4Min =0.31595 for B3 with
c,=399.33Ns/mm and b=61873kg. That is, 4min is not
noticeably improved by the parallel arrangement (B2),
while the serial arrangement (B3) is more useful in this
case. Compared with the optimization of group A, the
best way to improve system damping ratio is to
implement the serial suspension between the bogie and
the wheel (B3). The step responses of the body vertical
displacement z, to the system inputs F,= IN and zr =1mm
are shown in Fig. 10.
4
time (sec)
Fig. 9: Step responses of TF )Z
45
40
A2
of
.c 2
0.5
time (sec)
2.5
5
X
A1
026081
A,
'b 4
1.5
0.5
U)
2/
'
06
04
In
E) 4
__A3
In
10
80
0
a)
time (sec)
with optimal group B suspensions.
.c 1.5
uzs
20.5
zo
O_
0
2
kbSt
3
x
lo'
O_
0
Fig. 8: Optimization of J1 using group B
kbSt
10
susp(
(b). Optimization of 4min
To optimize the minimal damping ratio )Sm,Up to
170% improvement is achieved by group A suspensions.
For example, at k,=3150 N/mm, the sys tem minimal
damping ratios are 4min =0.1263 fc r Al with
c,=237.35Ns/mm, 4min =0.20231 for A2 with
c,=193.27Ns/mm and b=6501.3kg, and 4 =0.20231
for A3 with c,=193.56Ns/mm and b=19289)kg. The step
III. Lateral Stability
Apart from the passenger comfort, lateral stability is also
an important issue for train suspension design. Using a
six D.O.F. (degree of freedom) fulltrain model shown in
Fig. 11, the increase of critical speed (the maximum
allowable speed with lateral stability) by applying inerter
to the lateral suspension design are investigated. The
dynamics of the model with conventional suspension
was derived in [7] as follows:
(9)
mtyX F
I~< M,(10)
MAYi = 1475
Yt + 2filYri 
WaYi 2Vft a)j + Isyj
Fti
45th IEEE CDC, San Diego, USA, Dec. 1315, 2006
jki =
W3 Yi +
vf12
V Y>+(2f12+a2W)y.,
(r+
,(12)
0 Yi + M'Zi
in which i= 1,2 and V represents the forward speed, and
F
2Kpy
2Cy Yj + 2Ky Y2 + 2Cy Y2 + (<4py
M,, (4K,Jl
) yt + (4Cy  2Cy )Y 1 3)
2K
4K,b,2 2K.b22)Vt + (4C,, l 4C,bj2 2C ,b2f)Y,,(14)

y1+ 2CpyL, + 2Kp,bl21 + 2Cpybl /
+ 2Kpy4y2 + 2CpyL252 + 2Kp,b122+ 2CPybV'2
+ 2K
(l)'2Kpyt4t + 2Kpyyt 2cpyyi (1)'2Cpy4Lxt + 2Cpy t ^(5)
(16)
M'Zi = 2K, bj2yt 2KPXbj2VY + 2C,,bl2ifr 2C, b12Vri *
Fsyi = 2Kpyj
WelP2.1 9
system in (912) are considered. When the forward
velocity V exceeds the critical speed, there will be RHP
(righthand plane) system poles such that the system
becomes unstable. The suspension settings are modified
in several different locations, such as the longitudinal
and vertical suspensions. Finally it is found that the most
significant influence on the creep speed is to apply
inerter to the lateral suspensions. Furthermore, it is noted
that the critical speed is not increased using the parallel
arrangement. On the other hand, the serial arrangement is
more beneficial in this aspect with the critical speed
increased up to 15%. The results are illustrated in Fig. 12,
where the horizontal axis is kp, (longitudinal suspension
stiffness) in unit of N/m and the vertical axis represents
the critical speed in unit of km/hr.
800,
It is noted that the system described in (916) can also
be expressed by state space form, with state variables:
X
Yt
~t
YI
~1
Y2
~2 Vt '/~t VI '/~l
600
2]T
0
400
._
200

 
CI
Kpx
traditional
serial inerter
6
4
x
106
Fig. 12: The increase of creep speed by serial inerter in lateral suspension.
Fig. 11: The six D.O.F. fulltrain model for lateral stability analysis [7].
The following parameters are used [7]: the masses of
the bogie and the wheel are m,=350.26kg and
m,=1117.9kg; the inertia of the bogie in zdirection is
I,,=105.2kgm2 while the inertia of the wheel is IWx=608.1,
IWy=72, Iw =608.lkgm2 in x, y and z directions; the
halftrack is a=0.7175m; the wheel coefficient is A =0.05;
the suspension strut distance is bl=lm, b2=1.18m,
b3=1.4m, LI =1.28m, L2=1.5m; the suspension settings
kpx =900N/mm, kpy =390N/mm, kpz =432N/mm,
cpz =30N/mm, ksx =kSY =4.5NImm,
csx=90N/mm, csy=1. 8N/mm; the creep force coefficients
IV. Experiments
A. The Inerter Models
It is noted that inerter can be mechanically realized by
various ways [10, 11] . In [11] a rackpinion inerter was
constructed and combined in serial with a damperspring
set. The suspension strut was then tested on a hydraulic
platform to verify the inerter properties. In this paper, the
inerter was realized by a ballscrew set, as shown in
Fig. 13, where the two terminals and the nut are fixed
while the screw spins with the flywheel. The desired
inertance can be easily adjusted by modifying the
flywheel. A suspension strut with a parallel combination
of inerter, damper and spring is shown in Fig. 13,
are
cpx=cpy1=ON/mm,
are
f,,=2.212x103 kN, fl2=3.12kNm2, f22=16N,
f33=2.563N; the axle load is W=56kN.
Three suspension layouts illustrated in Fig. 4 are
applied to the lateral suspension design, combined with
ksy and csx. To find the critical speed, the poles of the
Fig. 13: A parallel inerterdamperspring arrangement.
B. Testing Platform
To test the parallel inerter layout, a motordriven
platform, as illustrated in Fig. 14, was constructed. The
horizontal platform is equipped with a load cell (with
100kg maximum load and 0.02kg resolution) and
position sensors (with 10cm working length and 1 ptm
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45th IEEE CDC, San Diego, USA, Dec. 1315, 2006
resolution). Furthermore, the force and displacement
signals are collected by a NIO pci6071E card and
recorded in LabVieW TM for analyses.
WelP2.1 9
suspension layout with ballscrew inerter
model was constructed and experimentally
verified to match with the theoretical model at
low frequency. Although only a onewheel
train suspension was presented in this paper,
it is discussed in [1] that for complex models,
from the twowheel to the fulltrain systems,
inerter is also potentially capable of
improving the system performance.
Fig. 14: A motordrive testing platform.
12
k2 b3 c
x 105
10
o
C. Experimental Results
For the parallel arrangement of Fig. 13 with inertance b,
damping rate c and stiffness k, the theoretical transfer
function from the displacement to suspension force can
be expressed as:
G(s)
(s)
(12 z2)
(bs2 + cs + k)(4,
18
2
0
z2),
where zl, Z2 are the displacements of two terminals.
Using the collected force and displacement signals, as
illustrated in Fig. 15, system identification methods
described in [8,11] are utilized to compare the transfer
functions from theorem and experiments. For example,
when inertance b=1 15.31kg, damping rate c=2Ns/mm
and spring stiffness k=30.94N/mm, the theoretical and
practical transfer functions are compared in Fig. 16. It is
noted that at low frequency the suspension layout is
close to the theoretical model, while at the higher
frequency range it is drifting away. The difference might
be resulted from some mechanical nonlinearity, such as
backlash and friction, and will be discussed in details by
other articles. Therefore, it is important to check the
inerter property in the concerned frequency range of the
systems.
Fig. 15: The collected force and displacement signals in LabViewTM.
V. Conclusion
In this paper inerter has been applied to train
suspension designs. It was shown that both of
the system performance and stability are
improved by combining inerter with the
traditional suspension elements. It was noted
that the resulting suspension layouts is
passive, i.e. no energy input is required to
achieve those performance benefits. A parallel
(,)
,
200
(D
150
Frequency Hz
10
15
10
15
uz 100
( 50
Fig. 16: Comparison of the theoretical (dashed) and practical (solid) Inerters.
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