Analysis of Suspension Design for Formula SAE Vehicle

Photo of Jeremy Brautigam, Rodrigo Frias, Hiroaki Ito Students: Jeremy Brautigam, Rodrigo Frias, Hiroaki Ito

Sponsor: The University of Texas Society of Automotive Engineers

Date: Fall 2008

The team was required to do the following:
• Model different FSAE vehicles in ADAMS/Car
• Compare the suspension performance of the vehicles using full-vehicle simulations
• Create a video of the cars “racing” using ADAMS/Car’s recording features
• Write a how-to guide for modeling and troubleshooting ADAMS/Car

Currently, The University of Texas at Austin Formula SAE racing team uses a spreadsheet to design their vehicles, but they desire a more accurate method of evaluating theoretical designs. This project focused on evaluating the suspension performance of several UTSAE Formula cars using ADAMS/Car, a powerful, professional-level engineering analysis application.

The team obtained SolidWorks models and suspension spreadsheets from the FSAE team. The necessary geometric hard points were taken from the SolidWorks model and input into ADAMS/Car. Mass properties and moments of inertia were added to the models, as well as other parameters, such as spring and damping coefficients. The performance of the suspensions was compared for three types of full-vehicle analyses: fish-hook turns, constant-radius cornering, and single lane change. A modeling guide and a troubleshooting guide for ADAMS/Car were developed to make the software easier to learn for the FSAE team and students in the future.

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