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SAE TECHNICAL

PAPER SERIES 2000-01-3554

Car Handling Balance

Andrew Deakin, David Crolla, Juan Pablo Ramirez and Ray Hanley

School of Mech. Eng., The University of Leeds

Engineering Conference & Exposition

(P-361)

Dearborn, Michigan

November 13-16, 2000

400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, PA 15096-0001 U.S.A. Tel: (724) 776-4841 Fax: (724) 776-5760

Author:Gilligan-SID:3681-GUID:30311078-129.16.65.19

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2000-01-3554

Car Handling Balance

Andrew Deakin, David Crolla, Juan Pablo Ramirez and Ray Hanley

School of Mech. Eng., The University of Leeds

LT = (1)

t

It is often quoted that to be able to make a race car

handle ‘properly’ by tuning the handling balance, the

where LT is the lateral load transfer for an axle, LATacc is

chassis should have a torsional stiffness of ‘X times the

the lateral acceleration, ma is the mass supported by that

suspension stiffness’ or ‘X times the difference between

relevant axle, hCG is the centre of gravity height and t is

front and rear suspension stiffness’ [1].

the track width. This assumes a flexible chassis.

This paper looks at the fundamental issues surrounding

3000

chassis stiffness. It discusses why a chassis should be

stiff, what increasing the chassis stiffness does to the

2500

Maximum lateral force generated, N

the car and how much chassis stiffness is required. All 2000

the arguments are backed up with a detailed quasi static

analysis of the problem. 1500

1000

Furthermore, a dynamic analysis of the vehicle’s

handling using ADAMS Car and ADAMS Flex is

500

performed to verify the effect of chassis stiffness on a

race car’s handling balance through the simulation of 0

steady state handling manoeuvres. 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000

Vertical load, N

INTRODUCTION SAE tyre, max. lateral force produced for a vertical load.

It is well known that to make a race car handle correctly, Therefore a car understeers (a car that has too little grip

it must be possible to tune the handling balance. Tuning at the front), the grip can be increased at the front by

the handling balance means adjusting the level of grip reducing the load transfer at the front and increasing the

available from either the front or the rear of the vehicle. load transfer at the rear.

When both the front and rear axles can produce a force

to give the same lateral acceleration, the chassis can be

said to be balanced.

tyre used with Formula SAE racing cars. Figure 2 shows

the Leeds University Formula SAE car. It can clearly be

seen that if a pair of tyres on an axle had the same

vertical load, then they could both produce the same

maximum lateral force. If for example, the vehicle was Figure 2 – Leeds University Formula 1999 SAE car

cornering, then the lateral acceleration would cause a

load transfer, equation 1. This lateral acceleration would Being able to control the load transfer distribution is

increase the vertical load on the outside tyre and therefore the key to being able to obtain a good handling

decrease the vertical load on the inside tyre by the same balance. The lateral load transfer distribution can only

quantity. The result of this load transfer is that the two be controlled however, if the chassis is stiff enough to

tyres combined can produce less lateral force. transmit the torques.

Author:Gilligan-SID:3681-GUID:30311078-129.16.65.19

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The question that is then raised is how stiff is stiff The real vehicle is much more equivalent to that shown

enough. The objective of this work was to go some way in figure 5, where the mass is evenly distributed along

towards answering that question. the body. As long as the chassis is equally torsionally

stiff at all points along the chassis then it can be shown

MODELLING that the idealised model still represents the actual

chassis.

There are two sections of modelling within this paper.

The first is a simple static analysis to determine the

effects of chassis torsional stiffness on being able to

maintain the desired lateral load transfer distribution.

The second is a dynamic analysis of the effect of a

flexible chassis using the ADAMS and ADAMS Flex.

Figure 5 – Chassis model with uniformly distributed

STATIC ANALYSIS OF CHASSIS STIFFNESS – A

mass

model calculating the static forces present in the chassis

under steady state conditions has been developed. This

The real vehicle however, does not have an evenly

considers the racing car to consist of two point masses,

distributed mass with all mass having the same moment

mf and mr for the front and rear respectively, connected

arm and each segment of the chassis having an equal

by a torsional spring, Kch, and a suspension at each end

torsional stiffness. In reality, figure 6 is something like

of the vehicle represented by a roll stiffness, Krollf and

an actual vehicle’s mass distribution. Heavier objects

Krollr, figure 3.

such as the engine, the driver safety cell and the driver

are located close to the centre of gravity of the car.

mr Also, the torsional springs may not be along the same

axis as shown in figure 6. Therefore there are likely to

Krollr be discrepancies between results from the idealised

model and a real vehicle.

mf

Kch

Krollf

Figure 6 – Mass distribution of real vehicle

stiffness on lateral load transfer distribution

Additionally, there are compliances in the suspension,

From this model, equations 2, 3 and 4 were derived. φ1,

commonly referred to as the installation stiffness, which

φ2 and φ3 are the front suspension roll angle, the rear reduce the chassis torsional stiffness as seen at the

suspension roll angle and the chassis torsional twist wheels. These should also be considered as possible

respectively. Mf and Mr are the front and rear moments errors between the idealised model which has been

due to the lateral acceleration of the body masses. proposed and the real vehicle.

Leeds University Formula SAE car has been developed

Mr = Krollrφ 2 + Kchφ3 (3) in ADAMS to understand further the effect of a flexible

chassis on handling. The basic model configuration with

a rigid chassis is shown in figure 7. Two extensions to

φ1 + φ 3 = φ 2 (4) this model were created which included; a chassis

separated into a front and rear section joined by a

These equations represents a very much idealised torsional spring along an axis at the wheel centre height,

model of the vehicle as shown in figure 4. and a flexible chassis incorporated into the ADAMS

model using ADAMS Flex.

be used to validate the static model results. The results

from the model incorporating an ADAMS Flex, flexible

chassis, could be used to understand the effect on a real

vehicle.

Figure 4 – Idealised chassis model with two masses

connected by a torsional spring

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The model with the torsional spring was developed to Subsystem Value

enable evaluation of multiple chassis torsional rear susp. 17.93 kg

stiffnesses on the vehicle’s handling performance, as front susp. 16.70 kg

this just requires a single model parameter to be

rr. antiroll 1.99 kg

changed.

frt. antiroll 1.99 kg

ADAMS Flex takes a modal neutral file format which is steering 5.90 kg

produced using the finite element method in a software frt. wheels 21.00 kg

package such as ANSYS, figure 8. This model is loaded rr. wheels 21.00 kg

such that a torsional force is put onto the chassis at the chassis with driver 250.00 kg

suspension rocker mounts. Ideally it should be loaded Chassis Inertias

such that all the suspension wishbone and track rod

Ixx (roll) 7.33E+06 [kg*mm^2]

forces load the ADAMS Flex model, however, this would

increase the complexity significantly. As it was, there Iyy (pitch) 3.56E+07 [kg*mm^2]

were 18 mode shapes represented in the model, eight of Izz (yaw) 3.94E+07 [kg*mm^2]

which were rigid body modes. The nominal torsional Chassis C.G. Location

stiffness of the ADAMS Flex model was 1,300 Nm/deg. frt. weight 46.5 %

rr. weight 53.5 %

height 300 mm

Spring Rates

frt. spring rate 61.5 [N/mm]

rr. spring rate 87.9 [N/mm]

frt. antiroll bar rate 150 [Nm/deg]

rr. antiroll bar rate 125 [Nm/deg]

Table 1 – Data for Formula SAE Car model

RESULTS

effects, set up of the desired lateral load transfer. This

was conducted both through static analysis and dynamic

analysis.

Figure 7 – ADAMS model of the Leeds University STATIC ANALYSIS RESULTS – The static analysis

Formula SAE Car. results were performed for a range of vehicle, total

suspension roll stiffnesses representing different

vehicles. Dixon [2], gives a range of data values, table

2, for different types of racing vehicle. Total roll

stiffnesses for typical Formula SAE cars are also

included.

Saloon 300 – 800

Sports car 2000

Sports prototype 18,000

Formula One 20,000 – 25,000

Formula SAE 500 – 1,500

Table 2 – Typical total vehicle roll stiffness, Nm/deg

rear lateral load transfer distribution for different roll

stiffness distributions. This is calculated for a range of

chassis stiffnesses and for total roll stiffnesses of 500,

Figure – 8 ADAMS Flex chassis template.

1500, 5000 and 15000 Nm/deg respectively. All of these

results assume that both the static load distribution is

The overall vehicle parameter data used in the ADAMS 50:50 and the front and rear centre of gravity heights are

model is shown in table 1. the same.

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in the roll stiffness distribution. A large percentage of the 80

result in a difference in front to rear lateral load transfer, 60

for example 80%. 50

Chassis stiffness 100 Nm/deg

40 Chassis stiffness 300 Nm/deg

Looking at figure 9, and the point where the roll stiffness Chassis stiffness 600 Nm/deg

30 Chassis stiffness 1000 Nm/deg

distribution is 30:70, the lateral load transfer distribution Chassis stiffness 2000 Nm/deg

20

can be anything from 30:70 to 40:60. If the difference Chassis stiffness 4000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 8000 Nm/deg

10

between front and rear lateral load transfer is to be 80% Chassis stiffness 16000 Nm/deg

0

of the difference between front and rear roll stiffness, 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

then the lateral load transfer distribution must be at least Front roll stiffness as % of total roll stiffness

roll stiffness of 1500 Nm/deg

It is clear from figure 9 that all but the least stiff of

chassis shown, (100Nm/deg torsional stiffness), 100

produces a load transfer distribution of 34:66 or greater 90

at the point where the roll stiffness distribution is 30:70.

80

Therefore if the criterion is that the difference between

70

front and rear lateral load transfer is to be 80% of the

60

difference between front and rear roll stiffness, then for

50

softly sprung cars, (roll stiffness <500 Nm/deg), the Chassis stiffness 100 Nm/deg

40

torsional stiffness of the idealised chassis should be Chassis stiffness 300 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 600 Nm/deg

greater than 300 Nm/deg. 30 Chassis stiffness 1000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 2000 Nm/deg

20

Chassis stiffness 4000 Nm/deg

10 Chassis stiffness 8000 Nm/deg

100

Chassis stiffness 16000 Nm/deg

90 0

Front load transfer as % of total load transfer

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

80 Front roll stiffness as % of total roll stiffness

70

Figure 11 – Lateral load transfer from a racing car with

60

roll stiffness of 5000 Nm/deg

50

Chassis stiffness 100 Nm/deg

40 Chassis stiffness 300 Nm/deg

100

Chassis stiffness 600 Nm/deg

30 Chassis stiffness 1000 Nm/deg 90

Front load transfer as % of total load transfer

20

Chassis stiffness 4000 Nm/deg 80

Chassis stiffness 8000 Nm/deg

10

Chassis stiffness 16000 Nm/deg 70

0

60

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Front roll stiffness as % of total roll stiffness 50

Chassis stiffness 100 Nm/deg

40

Figure 9 – Lateral load transfer from a racing car with roll Chassis stiffness 300 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 600 Nm/deg

stiffness of 500 Nm/deg 30 Chassis stiffness 1000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 2000 Nm/deg

20

Chassis stiffness 4000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 8000 Nm/deg

With a total suspension roll stiffness of 1,500 Nm/deg, 10

Chassis stiffness 16000 Nm/deg

the modelled chassis stiffness required to produce a 0

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

front to rear lateral load difference of 80%, of the roll Front roll stiffness as % of total roll stiffness

stiffness distribution difference, is approximately 1000 –

2,000 Nm/deg, figure 10. Figure 12 – Lateral load transfer from a racing car with

roll stiffness of 15000 Nm/deg

Similarly, when the roll stiffness is increased to 5,000

Nm/deg, a modelled chassis torsional stiffness greater Figures 13 and 14 explore what happens if the static

than approximately 6000 Nm/deg is required, figure 11. load distribution is changed so more mass is supported

by the rear suspension. The load distributions chosen

For the vehicle with a roll stiffness of 15,000 Nm/deg, were 45:55 and 40:60.

using the same 80% guideline, a modelled chassis

stiffness of greater than 10,000 Nm/deg is required, In both cases, the point at which chassis stiffness has no

figure 12. effect on the lateral load transfer distribution is where the

ratio of front to rear roll stiffness is the same as front to

rear weight distribution.

When the weight is moved more to the rear and the roll

rate at the front is higher than the rear, less lateral load

transfer difference between front and rear is achieved for

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the same roll stiffness distribution. Therefore a stiffer known, then this enables an approximate measure of

chassis is required. how sensitive the vehicle’s handling balance will be to

changes in roll stiffness distribution.

100

90 4.5

Front load transfer as % of total load transfer

80 4

70

3.5

60

3

50

Chassis stiffness 100 Nm/deg 2.5

40 Chassis stiffness 300 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 600 Nm/deg 2

30 Chassis stiffness 1000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 2000 Nm/deg 1.5

20

Chassis stiffness 4000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 8000 Nm/deg 1

10

Chassis stiffness 16000 Nm/deg

0 0.5

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

0

Front roll stiffness as % of total roll stiffness

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50

Roll stiffness difference not turned into lateral load transfer difference, %

Figure 13 – Lateral load transfer from a racing car with

roll stiffness of 1500 Nm/deg with 45:55 load distribution Figure 15 – Percent difference between lateral load

transfer distribution and roll stiffness distribution for

100 different ratios of roll to chassis stiffness

90

Front load transfer as % of total load transfer

70 analysis presented uses steady state analysis features

60

contained within ADAMS. The vehicle was forced to

50

follow a constant path radius and the required steering

40

Chassis stiffness 100 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 300 Nm/deg

wheel angle and lateral acceleration generated for

30

Chassis stiffness 600 Nm/deg different speeds were determined.

Chassis stiffness 1000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 2000 Nm/deg

20

Chassis stiffness 4000 Nm/deg

Chassis stiffness 8000 Nm/deg

Figure 16 shows the lateral acceleration vs. steering

10

Chassis stiffness 16000 Nm/deg wheel angle for the vehicle configurations considered.

0

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

These configurations include a stiff chassis, a chassis

Front roll stiffness as % of total roll stiffness with torsional stiffness of 250, 1300 and 2500 Nm/deg

Figure 14 – Lateral load transfer from a racing car with and the chassis from the ADAMS Flex model. All these

roll stiffness of 1500 Nm/deg with 40:60 load distribution results were generated with the same suspension roll

stiffness distribution.

Figure 15 summarises the results from figures 9, 10, 11

and 12 for a suspension roll stiffness distribution of For the chassis containing torsional springs to represent

60:40. From the graph it can be seen, for example, that chassis stiffness, it is clear that the more flexible a

if it is acceptable for the lateral load transfer difference to chassis is, the more the vehicle tends to understeer.

be only 80% of the roll stiffness difference, (lateral load

transfer distribution difference is 20% less than the roll Subsequently, the roll stiffness distributions were tuned

stiffness difference), then the ratio of total suspension such that each of the vehicle models with a flexible

roll stiffness to chassis torsional stiffness should be chassis had the same total roll stiffness and achieved

approximately 1. the same handling balance. The increase in the front to

rear roll stiffness difference to give this same handling

If the ratio of front to rear roll stiffness is reduced so that balance for each vehicle is shown in figure 17. This

it is closer to 50:50, then the chassis torsional stiffness is shows that the roll stiffness difference has to be

required to be slightly higher (up to 4% higher). increased for more flexible chassis in order to generate

Conversely, if the front to rear roll stiffness is increased the same lateral load transfer distribution. An attempt

above 60:40, a more flexible chassis can be used. was made to correlate these results with those obtained

from the static analysis. This was not found to be

If the engineer desires a loss of no more than X% of roll possible, the likely cause was attributed to large castor

stiffness distribution ratio into lateral load transfer angles on the front suspension which affect the height of

distribution, then as a rule of thumb, equation 5 can be the tyre contact patch centre when a significant steering

used. angle is applied. The result of this kinematic effect was

to change the front roll stiffness compared to that

X/20 = Ratio (5) calculated from conventional theory. This will be the

subject of future investigations.

where Ratio is the ratio of total chassis roll stiffness

distribution to chassis torsional stiffness. If chassis The ADAMS Flex model shows an oversteering

torsional stiffness and suspension roll stiffness are characteristic, figure 16. Looking closely at the torsional

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apparent that the front of the chassis is least stiff in this 0.9

mode. This weakness at the front of the chassis 0.8

effectively reduces the roll stiffness of the suspension at

0.7

the front, thus producing less front load transfer and the

0.6

oversteering characteristic. To achieve the same

0.5

handling balance as the stiff chassis, the front

0.4

suspension roll stiffness had to be increased,

0.3

compensating for the weak area in the chassis, whilst

0.2

the rear was reduced, thus maintaining the same total

0.1

roll stiffness.

0

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000

-68 Longitudinal location, mm

-69

-70

Figure 18 – Chassis torsional deformation along length

-71 of chassis model used with ADAMS Flex, front = 0mm.

steering wheel angle [deg]

-72

-73

Equation 5, is very much a generalisation of the ratio of

-74

chassis torsional stiffness to total suspension roll

-75

-76

stiffness, to produce a certain load transfer distribution

-77 from a certain roll stiffness distribution. The calculations

-78 Rigid Chassis

250 N-m/deg

suggest that if the vehicle weight distribution is

-79 1300 N-m/deg approximately 50:50 then equation 5 can be used as a

-80 2500 N-m/deg

ADAMS/Flex guide to determine how stiff the chassis should be.

-81

0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 However, in order to do this, an understanding of what

Lateral Acceleration, g constitutes an acceptable loss of roll stiffness distribution

Figure 16 – Lateral acceleration against steering angle into load transfer distribution is required.

for different ADAMS model configurations.

It has also been shown that more subtle effects from

250.00 changes in torsion stiffness along the chassis and

kinematic effects in the vehicle will influence the results.

Change in roll rate distribution from baseline,%

200.00

Thus the chassis stiffness required will differ from

vehicle to vehicle, however, this analysis gives an initial

insight into the problem.

150.00

100.00

CONCLUSION

50.00

analysis model can be used to calculate the effect of

chassis torsional stiffness on achieving a desired

0.00

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500

handling balance. Also a dynamic handling model using

Chassis Torsional Stiffness, Nm/deg ADAMS can be used to predict the effect of chassis

Figure 17 – Difference in roll stiffness for flexible chassis torsional stiffness on dynamic handling manoeuvres.

to give the same handling balance compared to a stiff

chassis. It has been shown that to translate a certain percentage

of suspension roll stiffness distribution into a lateral load

DISCUSSION transfer distribution, the chassis torsional stiffness to

total suspension roll stiffness must be a certain ratio.

It is clear from the set of results presented that there are Therefore the chassis torsional stiffness must be a

discrepancies between the results obtained purely from multiple of total suspension roll stiffness and not the

static calculations to those that are obtained through difference between front and rear suspension stiffness

dynamic analysis. With regard to the chassis with as has previously been suggested. The chassis

different torsional stiffnesses, these differences have torsional stiffness referred to must include the installation

been attributed to kinematic effects in the vehicle model, stiffness of the suspension.

reducing the effective roll stiffness at one end of the

vehicle. With regard to the ADAMS model containing It has been shown that a Formula SAE car which has a

the ADAMS flex representation of the chassis, the total suspension roll stiffness of 500 – 1,500 Nm/deg

discrepancy is attributed to the distribution of chassis requires a chassis stiffness between 300 and 1,000

torsional stiffness along the vehicle length. Nm/deg to enable the handling to be tuned.

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stiffness requires a chassis torsional stiffness in excess

of 10,000 Nm/deg to enable the handling to be tuned.

the less the difference in roll stiffness distribution has to

be to achieve the same handling balance.

stiffness distribution can be affected by kinematic

properties in the suspension which should be taken

account of in any analysis.

chassis also has an effect on the required roll stiffness

distribution to achieve a good handling balance. Indeed

a torsionally non-stiff region of a chassis close to the

front or rear suspension can effectively reduce the roll

stiffness of that suspension.

REFERENCES

dynamics’, SAE Int’l, 1995

2. Dixon, J.C.: ‘Tyres, Suspension and Handling’,

Cambridge University Press, 1991.

CONTACT

Andrew Deakin

School of Mechanical Engineering

The University of Leeds

Leeds, LS2 9JT, England, UK

a.j.deakin@leeds.ac.uk

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