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Vehicle System Dynamics


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Extended Ground-Hook - New Concept of Semi-Active Control of Truck's


Suspension
M. Valášek; M. Novák; Z. Šika; O. Vaculína
a
Department of Mechanics, Czech Technical University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Praha 2,
Czech Republic

To cite this Article Valášek, M. , Novák, M. , Šika, Z. and Vaculín, O.(1997) 'Extended Ground-Hook - New Concept of
Semi-Active Control of Truck's Suspension', Vehicle System Dynamics, 27: 5, 289 — 303
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/00423119708969333
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00423119708969333

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Vehicle System Dynamics, 27 (1997), pp. 289-303 0042-3 1 14/97/2705-289$12.00
O Swets & Zeitlinger

Extended Ground-Hook - New Concept of


Semi-Active Control of Truck's S~~spension

M. VALASEK, M. N O V ~Z., SIKA and 0. VACUL~N'

SUMMARY
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This paper deals with the novel control concept, so called ground-hook for active and mainly
semi-active suspension of vehicles with the ultimate objective to minimize the tyre-road forces and thus
the road damage. The basic ground-hook concept is extended to the several variants which enable to
decrease criteria of road damage as well as to increase driver's comfort for a broad range of road
unevennesses. Parameters of control law are determined by the parameter optimization for generally
nonlinear model. The influence and interaction of the damping rate limits and time constants of
variable shock absorbers are also taken into account. The influence of implementation of more
complicated truck models is also discussed.

1. INTRODUCTION

Active and semi-active damping of vehicle suspensions has been studied for a long
time (e.g. [l-51 and others). The applied performance criterion in these studies has
been mostly the ride comfort. The important principle of the so called sky-hook
for such control of vehicle suspension has been developed by Karnopp [I]. He
analyzed linearized low order dynamic models of road vehicle suspension systems
incorporating generalized velocity feedback for the performance criterion of ride
comfort. The sprung mass velocity feedback is called sky-hook as a fictitious
damper between the sprung mass and the inertial frame ('the sky').
Despite many different theories of the optimal suspension control the sky-hook
control concept is generally used for two different purposes: as the ideal control
concept for comparison of other approaches and as the basis of practical imple-
mentation of semi-active or active vehicle suspensions.
Besides ride comfort the other important criterion is the interaction between the
vehicle and the road. This criterion is important for ride safety and for road
friendliness. In both cases the goal is to minimize the amplitudes of dynamic
tyre-road forces [5,12]. The novel control concept, the so called ground-hook, as a
fictitious damping element between the wheel and the ground parallel with the tyre
has been introduced [7,8]. The motivation of this concept is to develop an
I
Czech Technical University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanics. Karlovo
nAm. 13, 121 35 Praha 2, Czech Republic.
equivalent of sky-hook for the reduction of dynamic tyre-road forces. The
preservation of low accelerations of sprung mass has been reached by the
combination of sky-hook and ground-hook and ground-hook extensions.
The equivalent concept has been recently independently introduced in [6] for
reduction the undamped vibrations of unsprung mass in active systems and in [3]
as road-hook for general improvement of active suspension control. However,
none of these approaches have considered the reduction of tyre-road forces or the
combination with the sky-hook concept.
The basic ground-hook concept has been then extended to the several variants
and implemented to the semi-active suspension. The suitable choice of control law
structure and parameters enables to decrease criteria of road damage as well as to
increase driver's comfort for a broad range of road unevennesses. Parameters of
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control law are determined by the minimization of integral performance criterion


which considers the time behaviour of dynamic tyre-road forces. The influence
and interaction of the damping rate limits and time constants of variable shock
absorbers are also taken into account.
Section 2 deals with the ground-hook concept itself and its extensions. The
determination of control parameters and the simulation results are described in
Section 3. The initial results of further development of ground-hook concept are
treated in Section 4 and the conclusions follow in the last section.

2. THE CONCEPT OF GROUND-HOOK AND ITS EXTENSIONS


The principle of ground hook as a fictitous damper between the wheel and the
ground of the road has been proposed in [7].This principle can be further extended
[8]. The further considerations are based on the simple linear quarter car model.
The model of a linear quarter car model is in Fig. 1. The equations of motion
are

where m , is the unsprung mass, m, is the sprung mass, k,, is the stiffness of
main spring, k,, is the stiffness of tyre, b,, is tyre damping constant and F, is the

Fig. 1. Quarter car model.


EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK 29 1

force of passive or semi-active damper or active element. The meaning of


kinematic quantities z,, z, and 2, is also clear from this figure.
The principle of extended ground-hook has been developed from the following
considerations. The tyre-road force is given as

The damping of the tyre b, has a very low values in the case of normal working
velocities of trucks and thus can be neglected. The desired performance is to keep
F,, value as small as possible. This can be achieved either by keeping the
deformation (z, - 2,) small or by keeping the stiffness rate k,, small. Keeping of
z, - z, small leads to the idea of ground-hook as fictitious damper b, in Fig. 2a.
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Keeping of k,, small leads to the extending idea of canceling the tyre stiffness by
fictitious stiffness A k ,.

2.1. Combination of Ground-Hook and Sky-Hook for Active Element


On the suspension systems two main requirements are laid:
(i) to keep acceleration of the sprung mass in reasonable limits from the point of
view of driver and a transported load, and,
(ii) to minimize the amplitudes of tyre-road contact forces.
These two requirements are conflicting in general and when designing a
passively damped suspension we have always been faced with a compromise,
represented by a choice of such a shock absorber, and a spring as well, with which
the suspension meets, less or more, the mentioned requirements.
An ideal system, the sprung mass of which is joined through a fictitious
damping b, to the basic inertial frame, is nowadays already classical sky-hook
(Fig. 2a). The aim of that system is to slow down velocity or acceleration of a
sprung mass and to improve the driver's comfort.

Fig. 2. Combination of sky-hook, ground-hook and passive suspension (a) ideal concept. (b) realization
of concept.
Similarly for the reduction of wheel-road contact forces a fictitious damping b,
between the wheel and the ground has been proposed [7,8](Fig. 2a) in order to
keep the wheel-road contact forces in a band as narrow as possible around a static
value, given by the mass and loading of the vehicle. Lowering an amplitude of
these forces influences vehicle safety. Large fluctuation of these forces may result
in the lost of tyre-road contact and adhesion and, as a result, in the lost of vehicle
maneuverability. However, the authors of this paper have been rather led by an
effort to minimize these forces from the point of view of road surface damaging
by heavy trucks.
Further we will concern with a real system incorporating an active element.
This element F, is, of course, located between sprung and unsprung masses, i.e. on
the place of a passive shock absorber (Fig. 2b). This active element has the
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following structure of the force law for combination of ground-hook and sky-hook

The frequency response of the transfer functions for acceleration of the mass
m, and the force to the road are graphically represented in Fig. 3. On these graphs
the frequency response of the passive system is plotted, too. When the constants
b,, b2 and b,, in the rule for the force of an active element are appropriately
chosen, a decrease of amplitudes of forces towards the road can be seen in the

Fig. 3. Comparison of frequency response plots of passive system and the active system.
EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK 293

whole range of exciting frequencies taken into account. Sprung-mass acceleration


in the range of frequencies 0.5-10.5 Hz is also lower than in the case of the
passive system. This frequency range is, from the point of view of effects on
driver, the most important, which is also considered in the pertinent stacdards
(ISO).
The results of application of this principle are very good for harmonic
excitation but not so good for excitation by a bump [8]. This was a reason for the
development of so called extended ground-hook principle.

2.2. Extension of Ground-Hook Concept for Active :Element


The extended ground-hook should especially work in cases when the deforma-
tion z , - 2, is unavoidable, like passing a bump. During passing an accidental
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bump the relative velocity i, - i, is at the beginning zero and therefore the
ground-hook could not influence the car behaviour in the first phases of bump
passing. The possibility of the improvement of this problem arises from the above
,.
mentioned idea of canceling the tyre stiffness by the fictitious stiffness A k This
extension can be further generalized.
Let us derive the equations of motion for the deformation z, - 2,. Modifying
equations (1-2) we obtain

In order to keep the deformation z, - zo small the idea of decreasing k,, arises. It
leads to the idea of canceling the suspension stiffness by fictitious stiffness Ak,,.
This should work especially in cases when the deformation z, - z, is unavoidable,
again like passing a bump.
Finally we obtain force law for the extended combination of ground-hook and
sky-hook

This final variant contains all terms of the full state feedback with the exception of
one absolute position term like z,, z, or 2,. The advantage of the last equation is
that all terms are either directly measurable or reconstructable from other measure-
ments.
Directly we can measure z, - z,. The velocities i, and i2are observable from
the measurements of accelerations z,, z,. By adding the equations (1) and (2) we
obtain the tyre-road force (3)

F,, = m,z, + m2z2. (7)


If the tyre damping b,, is neglected, the tyre deformation z, - z, can be solved
from equation (3) and by differentiation we obtain the last term z, - z,.
3. CONTROL SYNTHESIS FOR SEMIACTIVE SUSPENSION

The desired force of an active element is the basis for the real semi-active device.
The damping rate of variable shock absorber can be set to the positive values from
the interval [b,,, b,,,]. The variable shock absorber is set to the damping rate bsa
which gives the force value nearest to the desired one

if Faels bmin(z2- z,)

bsa = { act
z2 - 2 , if - i , )s Fact5 bmax(i2- 2 , ) .
brmn(i2
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The further described simulations have been done on the linear quarter car
model with linear passive or variable shock absorber, however with possible
different setting for compression and expansion. This model has been developed as
a simplified model of SKODA-LIAZ truck prototype used within Copernicus
project "Semi-Active Damping of Truck's Suspension and Its Influence on
Driver's and Road Loads'' (SADTS). The parameters of this model are m , = 1500
kg, m, = 1 1500 kg, k 1 2= 628000 N/m, k,, = 3520000 N/m, b,, = 0.

3.1. Parameter Determination


,,
By the change of parameters b, , b,, b,, , A k A k , z we can obtain in large extent
modified transfer functions of the system in Fig. 1. For the systematic determina-
tion of these parameters we have applied the optimization procedures from the
program packet UFO [9]. The input disturbance has been a cosinusoidal bump and
the performance criterion was the time integral of dynamic tyre force

The results of such optimization are on the Fig. 4 where the non-optimized
passive, optimized semi-active and active suspension responses of tyre-road force
to the cosinusoidal bump are described. These results confirm the development of
extended ground-hook principle. However, the behaviour of semi-active suspen-
sion is much worse. This demonstrates that there is substantial difference between
the response to bump by active and semi-active suspension. The reason is that the
semi-active suspension is not capable to actively move the wheel into the chassis
while passing the bump, because it requires the input of energy, but the active
suspension can do it.
Semi-active suspension has been optimized for different values of damping rate
limits (b,,,, b,,,). The first result has been that the value bmin= 0 causes the
integration instability which has been removed by values bfin = 10 Ns/m and
bmaX = 1000000 Ns/m.
EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK 295
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I I
-0.08' I I I I I I I
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5
Time [s]
Fig. 4. Response to cosinusoidal bump of optimized active and semi-active and non-optimized passive
system.

The second result has been that the time constant of variable shock absorber
dynamics influences the result dramatically especially if the value b ~ is, a smalI
one, e.g., if the time constant is 10-30 ms and bdn = 10. The reason is following.
If the variable shock absorber is in a time instance set to the minimum value
where its damping influence is minimum, then its switching to a value with
efficient damping influence requires significant time 10-30 ms during which the
suspension is almost undamped. In some cases it decreases the properties of
semi-active suspension below the passive one.
The solution is clear from the previous analysis. If there is the time constant it
is necessary to increase the minimum value b ~ to , a certain level. We have
considered the time constant 10 ms and b,, equal to 1000 or 60000 Ns/m.
From the computational experiments we have also detected that there is
significant influence of the upper level of damping rate b,, to the results of
suspension response. The reason is that it directly determines the damping output
of the device what is its primary function. The higher value of b,,,, the better
response results. We have considered high, but realistic value b,,, = 300000
Ns/m.

3.2. Simulation Results


The optimized parameters of control law for the variable shock absorber
(Ak,, = - 500000 N/m, Ak,, = - 100000 N/m; for b,,, = 1000 Ns/m b, =
73445 Ns/m, b,, = 12011 Ns/m, b, = 38 180 Ns/m; for b,,, = 60000 Ns/m
b, = 75687 Ns/m, b,, = 3252 Ns/m, b, = 32430 Ns/m) and damping rates
(b,,,, = 166121 Ns/m, be,, = 58888 Ns/m) of passive shock absorber have been
further implemented in the Simpack-Simulink [10,11] integrated simulation envi-
ronment. The behaviour of these shock absorbers are further compared with the
behaviour of the linearised passive commercial shock absorber and variable shock
absorber of nonzero time constant.
Further the following symbols are used
Passive commercial shock absorber COM
Passive optimized shock absorber P A 0
Semi-active ideal shock absorber (with zero time constant) SAI
Semi-active real shock absorber (with 10 ms time constant) SAR
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The obtained devices have been then tested on the responses to the cosinusoidal
bump, cosinusoidal pot, bad, medium and very good stochastic roads, sinusoidal
disturbance of 20 Hz, 10 Hz, 2 Hz and 1 Hz. The Dynamic Load Stress Factor
(DLSF) [5] is taken as an evaluation criterion of the road damage

DLSF = 1 + ~ D L C +, ~ D L C ~ , ( lo)
where DLC (Dynamic Load CoefJicient) is

RMS dynamic tyre force


DLC = (1')
static tyre force

The I S 0 weighted acceleration RMS is used for the health comfort criterion. The
main results are in Fig. 5-1 1.
The influence of the parameter bmi, equal to 1000 or 60000 for the passing
through the bump is in Fig. 5. It demonstrates that
the smaller b,,, , the better SAI response,
the smaller b,,,, the worse SAR response,
the nonzero time constant of variable shock absorber makes it on the bump
worse than the passive shock absorber optimized for this bump.
The results have shown that the DLSF response in all cases with the exception
of sinusoidal excitation 1-2 Hz are best for SAI and SAR suspensions. A little
different results are for sinusoidal excitation 2 Hz where commercial shock
absorber is the best if very small b ~ =, 1000 is not used. For sinusoidal excitation
1 Hz the best is the P A 0 suspension.
The results have shown that even acceleration RMS for the health comfort
criterion are for majority disturbances quite well despite the comfort has not been
optimized at all. From this point of view the results for stochastic roads where the
SAR suspension has been the best are important. These results could be interpreted
that the extended combination of ground-hook and sky-hook at the steady state
solves the requirement for decrease of tyre-road forces and supporting driver's
comfort for the necessary extent of road excitations.
EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK

6 i I I 1 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... -
b-max = 300000 Nsfm
. . . . . . . .

. . . .. ...

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6


Time [s]

b-min = 60000 Nslm .


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..................................
b-max = 300000 Nslm
-
d

2- -

1
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
Time [s]
Fig. 5. Response to cosinusoidal bump, the influence of b,,.

-
P)
I I I I I

a 1-
u
4l
E
a,
.-

2- 0.5 -
0
tn
B
0-
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
Time [s]

1 ,
. . . . -
. . . . . . . ........ -
. . . . . . .

COM
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SAR- -
PA0
I I I I SAl
0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
Time [s]

Fig. 6. Response to cosinusoidal bump.


'c1
COM
. . . . . . .
a 1-
E
.-
. . . . . ......

V)

1 I I I I i I I 1

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2


Time [s]
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'0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6


Time [s]
Fig. 7. Response to cosinusoidal pot.

0 I I I I I I I I 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Time [s]

11 I I
f I I I I I I I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Time [s]

Fig. 8. Response to very good stochastic mad.


EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK

1.5 I I r I I I I 1 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -
SA l
: SAR
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
'COM , .' '
-

I I

3.5 4 4.5
Time [s]

10 1 I I I I I

I
. . . . . . . . . . COM. .. -
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-
SAR
..........................................................
SAI -
I I I I I I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Time [s]

Fig. 9. Response to sinusoidal disturbance 10 Hz.

2 I I I 1 1 I 1 I

. . ' 'C.oM ."' " "

. . . . . ,-

Time [s]

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Time [s]
Fig. 10. Response to sinusoidal disturbance 2 Hz.
4. DIRECTIONS OF FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

Further investigations will be devoted to the optimization of control law coeffici-


ents for the more complex simulation models of truck. The first comparisons of
behaviour of different levels of truck model with regard to the investigated criteria
are quite optimistic.
Firstly the parameters determined by the above described optimization procedu-
re have been used for the simulation with the quarter car model equipped by the
nonlinear devices (variable shock absorbers, springs, tyres). The first simulation
results were very bad with no improvement by SAI or SAR suspensions. After
careful analysis we have concluded that the influence of nonlinearity of spring
elements is negligible and the decisive influence is done by the shock absorber.
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The problem is that the unsymmetrical shock absorber does not have enough
dissipative output in both compression and expansion phases. If we applied the
symmetric variable shock absorber with enough large dissipative output the
promissing results from linear simulations have been also obtained with nonlinear
simulations (see Fig. 12 in comparison with Fig. 6).
Secondly the same have been realized for the full 3D model of the truck. For
these simulations we have used linear shock absorbers directly identical to the
devices determined and analyzed for linear quarter car model in Section 3. These
linear shock absorbers (SAI, SAR, PAO, COM) have been located between car

I -

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Time [s]
Fig. I 1 . Response to sinusoidal disturbance 1 Hz.
EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK 30 1

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2


Time [s]
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I I I I I I I I I I
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time [s]

Fig. 12. Response to cosinusoidal bump of nonlinear suspension with nonlinear variable shock
absorber.

body and rear driven axle. All of other truck elements have been modeled as
nonlinear. The results for passing through cosinusoidal bump are on the Fig. 13
again with promissing results.
The parameters of control law for more realistic models of variable shock
absorbers and more complicated truck models must be certainly further tuned. The
influences of
properties of real variable shock absorbers
structure of vehicle model
vehicle model parameter variations
input signal reconstruction accuracy
will be considered.
In the case of real variable shock absorbers we have at our disposal characteris-
tics which are considerable as linear only for very low relative velocities between
car body and axle. Furthermore different time constants for increasing and
decreasing of damping rate are present. The nonzero clearance of real damper
mounting is able to have influence in the instant of change of damper velocity
sign.
The very important question is the sensitivity of control law efficiency to the
change of truck model structure and parameters. This is not only question of
model accuracy and time requirements of optimization and simulation of very
extensive models but also question of the sensitivity to the different loading of real
-0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Time [s]

3 I I
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....:. ..
2.5-
U-
2
D
2- ...

1.5 -
1 - I

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1


Time [s]
Fig. 13. Response to cosinusoidal bump of nonlinear 3D truck model with linear variable shock
absorber.

truck in practical situations. The final results must be also useful for the broader
set of vehicles of different construction (air springs-leaf springs etc.).
Finally, in the case of real feedback loop we will have to reconstruct from
measurements instantaneous kinematic quantities necessary for the control law of
required damper force.

5. CONCLUSIONS

The novel control concept, so called extended ground-hook for active and mainly
semi-active suspension of vehicles has been described. The developed concept has
been proposed for heavy trucks with the ultimate objective to minimize dynamic
tyre-road forces and thus the road damages. The basic ground-hook concept is
extended to the several variants which enable to decrease criteria of road damage
as well as preserve good driver's comfort for a broad range of road unevennesses.
The base of determination of coefficients in control law is done by the
parameter optimization for generally nonlinear dynamic model. The minimization
of integral objective criterion which considers the time course of dynamic part of
tyre-road forces has been applied. The quarter car model equipped with linearised
springing elements has been used for optimization and tuning of control law. The
EXTENDED GROUND-HOOK 303

influence and interaction of the damping rate limits and time constants of variable
shock absorbers are also taken into account. The influence of implementation of
more complicated truck models is finally discussed.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors acknowledge the kind support of this research by EC Copernicus Project SADTS
CIPA-CT94-0130 and by the grant of Czech Grant Agency GACR 101/95/0728.

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'
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