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Study on ride comfort of tractor with tandem suspension

based on multi-body system dynamics


Yong Yang
a,
*
, Weiqun Ren
a
, Liping Chen
a
, Ming Jiang
b
, Yuliang Yang
b
a
School of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology,
Wuhan 430074, Peoples Republic of China
b
DongFeng Automobile Engineering Research Institute, Shiyan 442001, Peoples Republic of China
Received 18 November 2006; received in revised form 1 October 2007; accepted 10 October 2007
Available online 22 October 2007
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to report a systematic methodology which is used to evaluate and improve the ride comfort. An
accurate model is necessary for further investigation and optimization. The vehicle dynamics model of tractor with tandem
suspension is modeled and simulated in dynamics software ADAMS, which is redeveloped to add a function of automatic
parametric modeling and simulation. The modeling methods of nonlinear characteristic components and various road exci-
tation inputs, which can be simply seen as the implementation means for the model solution, are introduced. A new index
called annoyance rate is presented to indicate the quantitative correlation between objective method and subjective com-
ment. The quantitative correlation between them, which is quite dierent from the qualitative comfortable or uncom-
fortable results attained by objective evaluation, can be dened by function and regarded as a basis to scientically
evaluate and improve the ride comfort. According to the request of performance-based design, the parameter sensitive
analysis and structure optimization have been carried out to nd the trade-o among ride comfort, maneuverability
and safety. The approach has proved to be very eective for predicting and improving the ride comfort by experiment
results. The methodology can be also used for any other specic category of vehicle.
2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Multi-body system dynamics; Ride comfort; Power spectral density; Annoyance rate
1. Introduction
Ride comfort is one of the most critical factors to evaluate the automobile performance and has been an
interesting topic for researchers for many years. Two methods, i.e. computer simulation and road experiment,
are used to investigate ride comfort. Clearly, the experiment method is the most precise approach because it
oers many valuable and realistic results. However, it is usually very costly and is limited by safety require-
ments. Moreover, the results from the experiment are based on specied test vehicle, specied vehicle velocity
and specied road conditions. Therefore the results do not suit in some degree for other test conditions.
0307-904X/$ - see front matter 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.apm.2007.10.011
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 027 87543973.
E-mail address: yangyong@public.wh.hb.cn (Y. Yang).
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
www.elsevier.com/locate/apm
Computer simulation method [13] is based on the mathematical model of the vehicle vibration and power
spectral density (PSD) of road surface. Simulation programs can be developed to extrapolate the experiment
results over the range of test conditions where experiment would be costly or inconvenient. Obviously,
whether the simulation result is correct or not must be validated by experimental methods.
Many papers about objective method and subjective comment for ride comfort have been published. In
most of them, only theoretical analysis is done with factors aecting the ride comfort most, and some certain
Nomenclature
M
ch
seat mass (kg) = 80
M
dr
driving-room mass (kg) = 680
M
1f
front axle mass (kg) = 670
M
1m
middle axle mass(kg) = 1595
M
1r
rear axle mass (kg) = 1595
M
2
body mass (kg) = 3200
M
3
equalizing suspension mass (kg) = 236
K
ch
seat stiness (N/mm) = 7.3
K
dr
driving-room stiness (N/mm) = 48.7
K
f
front suspension stiness (N/mm) = 395.72
K
tf
front tire stiness (N/mm) = 1880
K
m
middle suspension stiness (N/mm) = 2791.5
K
tm
middle tire stiness (N/mm) = 3760
K
r
rear suspension stiness (N/mm) = 2791.5
K
tr
rear tire stiness (N/mm) = 3760
C
ch
seat damper (N s/mm) = 2.0
C
dr
driving-room damper (N s/mm) = 5.0
C
f
front suspension damper (N s/mm)
C
m
middle suspension damper (N s/mm)
C
r
rear suspension damper (N s/mm)
M
2
q
2
y
body inertia moment (kg mm
2
) = 6.12e+09
M
3
q
2
3y
equalizing suspension inertia moment (kg mm
2
) = 3.34e+08
a distance between fore axle and body mass center (m) = 2.45
b distance between tail and body mass center (m) = 1.455
c equalizing suspension length (m) = 1.3
d equalizing suspension osetting (m) = 0.05
e distance between driving-room rear support and body mass center (m) = 1.15
L distance between fore axle and the center of equalizing suspension (m) = 3.95
u velocity of traveling speed (km/h)
q
f
road input at front tire
q
m
road input at middle tire
q
r
road input at rear tire
u pitch angle of chassis
h pitch angle of equalizing suspension
z
ch
vertical absolute displacement of seat
z
dr
vertical absolute displacement of driving room
z
1f
vertical absolute displacement of front axle
z
1m
vertical absolute displacement of middle axle
z
1r
vertical absolute displacement of rear axle
z
c
vertical absolute displacement of body mass center
z
3
vertical absolute displacement of equalizing suspension
12 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
levels of acceleration or PSD may be treated as an index to evaluate the ride comfort. The qualitatively com-
fortable or uncomfortable results were of little help to improve the ride comfort.
This paper addresses to provide a method to correlate objective method for determining ride comfort and
subjective comments from crew driving in the vehicle. The quantitative correlation between them can be used
as a basis to scientically evaluate and improve the ride comfort. It also proposes an approach to evaluate and
improve the ride comfort.
Its novelty can be summarized as follows. Firstly, an accurate model is necessary for further investigation
and optimization. The modeling methods of nonlinear characteristic components and various road excitation
inputs are introduced. Simulation experiments of dierent conditions according to the international standard
ISO2631 have been designed. Secondly, a new index, called annoyance rate together with ISO2631 used for
objective measurement, is proposed to indicate the quantitative correlation described by function between
objective method and subjective comments. The quantitative correlation dened by function can be regarded
as a basis to scientically evaluate and improve the ride comfort. Finally, the sensitive parameter optimization
has been carried out to nd the trade-o among ride comfort, maneuverability and safety, to meet the request
of performance-based design.
2. Three-axis tractor multi-body dynamics analysis system
2.1. Simulation procedure
A generic simulation procedure is shown in Fig. 1. The parameters from the Pro/E model of the tractor are
inputted into the simulation system to complete the subsystem modeling procedure, and then the same con-
straints are given as the real prototype till to establish the whole vehicle model [4,5]. The model consists of the
front and rear suspensions, steering system, powertrain, tires and vehicle body including the chassis, cab, seat
and the driver. Each component and subsystem can be analyzed for validation alone.
Then the power spectral density of the road surface is transformed by self-developed Matlab program to
take out the road conditions. After that, the model is simulated under various speeds (typically 40 km/h,
50 km/h, 60 km/h, 70 km/h), as well as dierent road conditions (usually class A, class B, class C, and single
pulse). After simulation, the x, y, and z direction accelerations and the power spectral densities at the driving-
room seat can be obtained to calculate the weighted RMS (root mean square) in three directions (x, y and z
direction) and the total RMS [6,7]. As far as ride comfort is concerned, the dynamic characteristic of driving-
room seat [8] should be mainly focused on. The accuracy and reliability of simulation method can be validated
by experimental data.
2.2. Mathematical model of vehicle and dynamics equations
The structure sketch map of three-axle tractor model is shown in Fig. 2. Dynamic motion equations of the
whole vehicle system are given by following dierential Eqs. (1)(8).
M
ch
z
ch
K
ch
z
ch
z
c
e u C
ch
_ z
ch
_ z
c
e _ u 0; 1
M
dr
z
dr
K
dr
z
c
e u C
dr
_ z
c
e _ u 0; 2
M
2
z
c
K
f
z
c
a u z
1f
C
f
_ z
c
a _ u _ z
1f
F 0; 3
M
2
q
2
y
u K
f
z
c
a u z
1f
a C
f
_ z
c
a _ u _ z
1f
a F b 0; 4
M
1f
z
1f
K
f
z
1f
z
c
a u C
f
_ z
1f
_ z
c
a _ u K
tf
z
1f
q
f
0; 5
M
3
q
2
3y

h K
m
z
3
c h z
1m
c c
m
_ z
3
c
_
h _ z
1m
c K
r
z
3
c h z
1r
c
c
r
_ z
3
c
_
h _ z
1r
c 0; 6
M
1m
z
1m
K
m
z
1m
z
3
c h c
m
_ z
1m
_ z
3
c
_
h K
tm
z
1m
q
m
0; 7
M
1r
z
1r
K
r
z
1r
z
3
c h c
r
_ z
1r
_ z
3
c
_
h K
tr
z
1r
q
r
0; 8
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 13
2.3. Modeling method of nonlinear dynamic characteristics of component
There are a lot of components such as leaf-spring, absorber and rubber sleeve in the tractor, whose dynamic
characteristics appear nonlinear. The reliability of vehicle model depends on the accuracy of these component
models. Here some modeling methods for these components, which can be simply seen as the implementation
means for the model solution, are presented as follows.
2.3.1. Leaf-spring
Leaf-spring [9] is the common elastic element of suspension system. It bears the impact from tire to abate
the vibration and keeps the stability of vehicle and adaptability to dierent road conditions. During the bear-
ing, extension activities of leaf-spring produce erce frictions among the springs to dissipate external energy.
In order to better reect the damping characteristic of leaf-spring, assumptions are made as follows:
(1) Because each piece of leaf-springs is a continuous exible body, discrete method can be used here to
divide each spring into a number of quality modules, each of which can be regarded as a rigid quality and
linked together with Timoshenko beam (see Fig. 3). Link locations should reect the actual shape and curva-
ture of leaf-spring. The following equations denes a force and a torque applied to the I marker on the action
body of a beam. I marker and J marker are located in the center of the two adjacent leafs respectively (see
Fig. 3). The force and torque depend on the displacement and velocity of the I marker relative to the J marker
on the reaction body
F
x
F
y
F
z
T
x
T
y
T
z
_

_
_

_

K
11
0 0 0 0 0
0 K
22
0 0 0 K
26
0 0 K
33
0 K
35
0
0 0 0 K
44
0 0
0 0 K
53
0 K
55
0
0 K
62
0 0 0 K
66
_

_
_

_
x L
y
z
a
b
c
_

_
_

C
11
C
21
C
31
C
41
C
51
C
61
C
21
C
22
C
32
C
42
C
52
C
62
C
31
C
32
C
33
C
43
C
53
C
63
C
41
C
42
C
43
C
44
C
54
C
64
C
51
C
52
C
53
C
54
C
55
C
56
C
61
C
62
C
63
C
64
C
65
C
66
_

_
_

_
V
x
V
y
V
z
x
x
x
y
x
z
_

_
_

_
;
9
Fig. 2. Whole vehicle model.
Fig. 1. A generic computer simulation procedure.
14 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
where (F
x
, F
y
, F
z
)
T
are the translational force components in the coordinate system of the J marker, (x, y, z)
T
are the translational displacements of the I marker with respect to the J marker measured in the coordinate
system of the J marker,(V
x
, V
y
, V
z
)
T
are the time derivatives of x, y and z respectively, (T
x
, T
y
, T
z
)
T
are the tor-
ques in the coordinate system of the J marker, a, b, and c are the relative rotational displacements of the I
marker with respect to the J marker as expressed in the x-, y- and z-axes of the J marker, (x
x
, x
y
, x
z
)
T
are
the angular velocity of the I marker as seen by the J marker in the J marker coordinate system, and C
ij
are
the damping coecients. C
ij
and K
ij
in above matrixes are symmetric, that is, C
ij
= C
ji
and K
ij
= K
ji
. K
ij
can
be dened as follows:
K
11
12EI
ZZ
=L
3
1 P
Y
; 10
K
26
6EI
ZZ
=L
2
1 P
Y
; 11
K
33
12EI
YY
=L
3
1 P
Z
; 12
K
35
6EI
YY
=L
2
1 P
Z
; 13
K
44
GI
XX
=L; 14
K
55
4 P
Z
EI
YY
=L1 P
Z
; 15
K
66
4 P
Y
EI
ZZ
=L1 P
Y
; 16
P
Y
12EI
ZZ
ASY =GAL; 17
P
Z
12EI
YY
ASZ=GAL; 18
where E is the Youngs modulus of elasticity for the beam material, A is the uniform area of the beam cross
section, L is the undeformed length of the beam along the x-axis, ASY is correction factor (shear area ratio)
for shear deection in the y-direction for Timoshenko beams, ASZ is the shear area ratio for shear deection
in the z-direction for Timoshenko beams. The equilibrating force and torque applied at the J marker on the
reaction body can be dened by the following equations:
F
j
F
i
; 19
T
j
T
i
L
ij
F
i
; 20
L
ij
is the instantaneous displacement vector from the J marker to the I marker. While the force at the J marker
is equal and opposite to the force at the I marker, the torque is usually not equal and opposite, because of the
force transfer.
(2) Adjacent leafs are clamped under normal working conditions, and only tangential direction frictions
happen because of the relative movement along the tangential direction. Although the springs are used to
maintain surface contact due to the role of the central bolt and pre-stressed leaf, under certain conditions
Fig. 3. Linkage with Timoshenko beam.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 15
clamped adjacent leafs may produce separateimpactcontact activities at the both ends of the spring (see
Fig. 4).
Besides the tangential frictions, impactcontact can be dened by self-developed function IMPACT. Math-
ematically, the force IMPACT is calculated as follows:
F
IMPACT

0 if q > q
0
;
MAXf0; Kq
0
q
e
C_ q stepq; q
0
d; 1; q
0
; 0g if q 6 q
0
;
_
21
where q is the displacement variable, _ q is the velocity variable, q
0
is the trigger for displacement variable, K is
the stiness coecient, C is the damping coecient, and d is the damping ramp-up distance.
Velocity-based friction model can be used to describe the friction caused by contacts. Fig. 5 shows how the
coecient of friction varies with slip velocity. The contact friction force can be calculated as following
equations:
lV
S
l
S
; 22
lV
S
l
S
; 23
l0 0; 24
Fig. 4. Friction and impact between leafs.
Fig. 5. Coecient of friction varying with slip velocity.
16 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
lV
d
l
d
; 25
lV
d
l
d
; 26
lV signV l
d
if jV j > V
d
; 27
lV stepjV j; V
d
; l
d
; V
S
; l
S
signV if V
S
6 jV j < V
d
; 28
lV stepV ; V
S
; l
S
; V
S
; l
S
if V
S
6 V < V
S
; 29
F
Static
l
S
F
IMPACT
; 30
F
Dynamic
l
d
F
IMPACT
; 31
where V is the slip velocity at contact point, V
S
is the stiction transition velocity, V
d
is the friction transition
velocity, l
S
is the static friction coecient, l
d
is the dynamic friction coecient, F
Static
is the static friction, and
F
Dynamic
is the dynamic friction.
(3) The centers of all leafs are clamped by central bolts, so certain length of the central leaf-spring can be
treated as invalid length. In the modeling process, the center of leaf-spring can be constrained as xed
together, and both ends of the leaf-spring are connected to supports by rubber sleeve.
Based on the above assumptions and equations, a parametric macro command of leaf-spring can be pro-
grammed with script command. The stiness of leaf-spring can be calculated through the loaddeformation
curve under the given load. The front suspension model and rear suspension leaf-spring model are shown
in Figs. 6 and 7, respectively.
2.3.2. Shock absorber
Shock absorber acts between two parts over a distance along a particular direction. The force of the shock
absorber is dependent upon the relative displacement and velocity of the two locations that dene the end-
points of the absorber. The following equation describes the action force:
F
Cdr=dt Kr L PRELOAD if r 6 L;
PRELOAD if r L;
_
32
where r is the distance between the two locations that dene the absorber measured along the line-of-sight
between them, dr/dt is the relative velocity of the locations along the line-of-sight between them, C is the
Fig. 6. Front suspension leaf-spring model.
Fig. 7. Rear suspension leaf-spring model.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 17
viscous damping coecient, K is the spring stiness coecient, PRELOAD denes the reference force of the
spring, L denes the reference length.
The damping and stiness values can be specied as coecients or splines to dene the relationships of
damping to velocity or stiness to displacement. We can also set the stiness value to 0 to create a pure damper
or set the damping value to 0 to create a pure spring. Just given the test data of the damping characteristic
curve, the shock absorber can be modeled. The damping force characteristic curves of front and rear shock
absorber are given in Figs. 8 and 9, respectively. The abscissas unit is mm/s, and ordinate unit is Newton
in Figs. 8 and 9.
2.3.3. Sleeve
To improve vehicle handling stability and ride comfort, vehicle systems use a lot of rubber connectors, such
as the rubber sleeve mounted at the front driving-room, etc. Rubber sleeve which connects two rigid parts is
hard to be described due to the double nonlinear deformations of geometry and physics and the uncertain
boundary conditions. In this paper, bushing, represented by three components of the force and torque, is used
to dene the rubber sleeve (see Fig. 10). Eq. (33) presents the relationships of the forces (torques), relative dis-
placements (angles) and the relative velocities (angle velocities). Bushings between driving room and chassis
can be seen as in Fig. 11.
F
x
F
y
F
z
T
x
T
y
T
z
_

_
_

_

K
11
x
K
22
y
K
33
z
K
44
a
K
55
b
K
66
c
_

_
_

C
11
V
x
C
22
V
y
C
33
V
z
C
44
W
x
C
55
W
y
C
66
W
z
_

_
_

F
1
F
2
F
3
T
1
T
2
T
3
_

_
_

_
; 33
where (F
x
, F
y
, F
z
, T
x
, T
y
, T
z
)
T
are the component forces and torques in x, y and z directions, (K
11
, K
22
,
K
33
, K
44
, K
55
, K
66
)
T
are the stiness and torsional stiness coecients in x, y and z directions, (x, y, z)
T
are
Fig. 8. Front suspension shock absorber damping force characteristic curve.
18 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
the relative displacement of two coordinates,(a, b, c)
T
are the relative angle of two coordinates,
(C
11
, C
22
, C
33
, C
44
, C
55
, C
66
)
T
are the damping coecients, (V
x
, V
y
, V
z
)
T
are the relative velocity of two coordi-
nates and (W
x
, W
y
, W
z
)
T
are the relative angle velocity of two coordinates, and (F
1
, F
2
, F
3
, T
1
, T
2
, T
3
)
T
are the
initial forces and torques of rubber sleeve.
2.3.4. PSD of road surface
As far as ride comfort is concerned, the main incentive comes from the various road excitation sources [10
13]. Another source from engine excitation can be treated as a cyclical motion added to the model. Usually,
road signals, given in the form of power spectral density, should be transformed into signals in time domain.
Fig. 10. Bushing between two parts.
Fig. 9. Rear suspension shock absorber damping force characteristic curve.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 19
In this paper, white noise is used to produce the road excitation signals (see Fig. 12). According to National
Standard GB 7031vehicle vibration input representation of road roughness, PSD of the road roughness is
represented as
G
n
n G
n
n
0

n
n
0
_ _
w
; 34
n
0
0:1m
1
; 35
where n is spatial frequency, n
0
is reference spatial frequency, G
n
(n
0
) is the value of power spectrum density
when reference spatial frequency is n
0
and called road roughness coecient, w is frequency index, which de-
pends on the frequency structure of road spectrum. Given w = 2, according to National Standard GB/T4970-
1996, Eq. (34) can be expressed as
G
n
n 2pn
0

2
G
n
n
0
: 36
So we know from Eq. (36) that the power spectral density is a constant over the whole frequency range, which
is called white noise. Amplitude of PSD only depends on road roughness coecient G
n
(n
0
). Reference to the
eight classications standard of road roughness, the dierence of G
n
(n
0
) is four times among class A, class B
and class C road. Therefore all levels of road signals can be expressed by ADAMS function dened as
steptime; t; 0; t Dt; 4 N AKISPLtime L=V ; 0; spl 1; 0; 37
Fig. 11. Bushings between driving room and chassis.
Fig. 12. Road signals in time domain.
20 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
where L is the wheel span, V is the vehicle speed. According to the relevance between left wheels and right
wheels, the same or dierent road signals can be imposed to left wheels and right wheels. The time delay be-
tween front wheels and rear wheels is computed by Dt = L/V. For vehicle loading more than 20 tons, the con-
vex height of single-pulse test is 120 mm. Road signals are dened by ADAMS function as follows:
steptime; t; 0; t Dt; 120 steptime; t L=V ; 0; t Dt L=V ; 0: 38
In the modeling process, power plants and power transmission systems are expressed with torque functions,
and the test rig consists of 10 bearing posts, each of which is touched with the tires to provide support for the
vehicle. These posts can generate vertical motions specied by Eq. (37) or Eq. (38) just like road excitations.
By doing so, the vibration model of vehicle is completed (see Fig. 13), and simulation process can be recorded
as a continuous random process. The whole model consists of 855 degrees of freedom, 215 moving objects, 95
constrains, and 10 motions.
2.4. Simulation results and objective evaluation method
According to previous studies [1418], the vibration at frequency above 50 Hz is not signicant, and the
damped characteristic of pneumatic tires attenuates the accelerations at high frequencies. In this paper the
Nyquist frequency in the simulation is 50 Hz. After simulation, ADAMS/Postprocessor can provide acceler-
ations and power spectral densities in x, y, z directions at the driving-room seat, as shown in Figs. 1416.
In this paper, the objective evaluation method for ride comfort is based on ISO2631 [19]. The PSD function
G
a
(f) can be obtained by FFT algorithm for the acceleration. A weighted RMS in x, y, or z direction can be
expressed as
a
w

_
80
0:5
W
2
f G
a
f df
_ _
1
2
; 39
where a
w
is a weighted RMS in x, y, or z direction, and W(f) is weighted value for power spectral density and
evaluated as follow:
1 in Z direction; W f
0:5 f
1
2
; 0:9 < f 6 4;
1:0; 4 < f 6 8;
8=f ; 8 < f ;
_

_
40
Fig. 13. Whole vehicle model with testing jig.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 21
2 in X; or Y direction; W f
1:0; 0:9 < f 6 2;
2=f ; 2 < f ;
_
41
when the three vibrations are considered, the total weighted RMS value of three direction accelerations can be
calculated by the following formula:
a
v
1:4a
xw

2
1:4a
yw

2
a
2
zw

1
2
; 42
where a
xw
, a
yw
, a
zw
, a
v
are weighted RMS in x, y, z direction and total weighted RMS, respectively.
Fig. 14. Acceleration and PSD of X direction acceleration of seat (v = 60 km/h, road condition = class C).
Fig. 15. Acceleration and PSD of Y direction acceleration of seat (v = 60 km/h, road condition = class C).
22 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
We now have all the elemental data required by further analysis. Then output the PSD data derived in
ADAMS/Postprocessor into the program compiled in Matlab. Figs. 17 and 18 show the total weighted
RMS comparison between simulation and experiment, when laded/unladen and traveling at speed of
40 km/h, 50 km/h, 60 km/h, 70 km/h. It is found that simulation results are slightly larger than experiment
ones. In fact there are a lot of rubber sleeves in the vehicle, and the measurement error of elastic compo-
nents can be as high as 15%. In other words there is an experimental measurement error, and thus the
dierence between the simulation and experiment can be foreseen. We should focus on the trend of sim-
ulation curve and experiment curve rather than the value variance. The trend of simulation is in good
agreement with the experiment, and this method also can be used to forecast the trend of change in the
ride comfort.
Fig. 16. Acceleration and PSD of Z direction acceleration of seat (v = 60 km/h, road condition = class C).
Fig. 17. Total weighted RMS comparison between simulation and experiment when unladen.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 23
3. Evaluation comprising objective method and subjective comments
In fact, the limit value of acceleration acceptable for a system does not absolutely depend on the vibration
frequency, amplitude, direction, duration and the limits of three selected vibration exposures (reduced comfort
boundary, operation and reducing eciency limits and exposure limit). The limit of acceleration acceptable for
limousine is lower than that for ordinary car. A reasonable limit must take many factors into account, such as
the activities that people engage and tolerance level for risk of external environment, so as to ensure the peo-
ples well-being and systems normal operation, however, the limits given by Standard 2631 seem to ignore the
eects of these factors [20].
A problem existed in these objective evaluations for ride comfort is that one can hardly know exact design
eects when using these guidelines. In order to answer the question, the uncertainties of human responses to
vibrations are analyzed from a view of psychophysics. According to large mounts of experiment ndings, con-
clusion can be drawn that the distribution of human response to vibration obeys lognormal distribution,
which can be dened by membership function so as to establish the annoyance rate model. The advantage
of annoyance method is that it can correctly predict the number of unsatised people and give a quantitative
limit for total weighted RMS to improve the ride comfort. The acceleration mentioned in this section means
the total weighted RMS acceleration.
3.1. Method determining the membership
In fact, the data acquired by experiment are the common-eect of stochastic subjective response and ambig-
uous judgment. Fuzzy statistic methods are usually used to determine the membership in engineering. Many
experiments have proved that people can correctly judge the 11 continuous classes of psychological percep-
tion. A line with isometric points is used to describe each class of the membership from the lowest to the high-
est, and the points representing membership of each class can be calculated as follows:
v
i

i 1
K 1
; i 1; 2; . . . ; K; 43
where v
i
is the membership of ith class, and K is the number of judgment class. Here Oborne experiment apply-
ing signal detection theory can describe membership function of subjective response for dierent vibration. A
10-cm line indicates the level of discomfort with the left hand side corresponding to little discomfort and the
right hand side to much discomfort, and the class number is 5(K = 5). The values of subjective perception
Fig. 18. Total weighted RMS comparison between simulation and experiment when laded.
24 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
are determined by measuring the length of the line from the left hand (marked little discomfort) to the
respondents mark.
Assuming the subjective perceptions are mutually independent, we have Eq. (44), where l
i
is the location
average value, r
i
is the standard deviation. The farther the distance from little discomfort is, the greater the
value of the perception membership. The theoretical values of membership can be computed as Eq. (45). The
Comparison of membership between calculated results and theoretical values shown as in Table 1 proves the
rationality of membership denition as Eq. (43).
D
i1
l
i
l
1

2
r
2
i
r
2
1

1
2
i 6 1; 44
v
i

D
i1
D
51
: 45
3.2. Relationship between membership and acceleration
Most of the experiment data are provided in a form of subjective response and the corresponding acceler-
ation range. For example, several international famous experiments of vibration comfort are shown in Table
2. When the membership value can be treated as a function of acceleration, it can conclude that there is an
approximately linear relationship between the membership and logarithmic value of acceleration as shown
in Fig. 19.
Eq. (46) can be derived from Fig. 19, where a and b are two unknown parameters. If we have the two mem-
bership values of the lowest and highest class of subjective response and the corresponding acceleration values
respectively, a and b can be obtained and the value of a certain membership can be calculated
vu a Inu b: 46
ISO2631 is taken as an example as shown in Table 3. Knowing the two acceleration values and the corre-
sponding membership values of the lowest and highest class, the equation can be written as
0 a In0:315 b;
1 a In2:0 b:
_
47
So we solve Eq. (47) and have Eq. (48):
vu 0:541 Inu 0:625: 48
3.3. Establishment of annoyance rate model
Annoyance rate indicates the rate of people who cannot accept the external stimulus to the total statistical
people. It can be used to determine the annoyance threshold for vibration comfort. Annoyance threshold
means the limit of acceleration on the premise of ensuring acceptable comfort. Under discrete distribution
condition, the annoyance rate is introduced as follows:
Table 1
Comparison of membership between calculated results and theoretical values
Experiment results Calculated results of membership
Subjective response Location average
value (cm) l
i
Standard
deviation (cm) r
i
D
ij
Calculated results
based on Eq. (45) m
i
Theoretical values
based on Eq. (43) m
i
1. Very comfortable 1.07 0.6 0 0 0
2. Comfortable 2.58 0.64 1.746 0.251 0.25
3. A little uncomfortable 4.17 1.16 3.364 0.485 0.50
4. Uncomfortable 5.99 0.83 5.025 0.724 0.75
5. Extremely uncomfortable 7.95 0.72 6.943 1.00 1.00
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 25
Px
i

m
j1
v
j
n
ij

m
j1
n
ij

m
j1
v
j
pi; j; 49
where P(x
i
) is the annoyance rate under ith vibration intensity, n
ij
is the number of people having jth subjective
comment under ith vibration intensity, v
j
is the membership value of jth subjective comment, m is the class
number of subjective comment (m = 6 for ISO 2631),

m
j1
n
ij
is the total number of statistical people,
Table 2
International famous experiments of vibration comfort
Research Description for subjective comment Peak value of acceleration (m/s
2
)
Rheiher and Meister (1931) Imperceptible 0.0018
A little perceptible 0.0029
Perceptible 0.0125
Clearly perceptible 0.11
Uncomfortable 0.6
Very uncomfortable 1
Change (1967) Imperceptible <0.05
Perceptible 0.050.15
Agonising 0.150.5
Very agonising 0.51.5
Unbearable >1.5
Fothergill and Grin Perceptible, not uncomfortable 0.4
A little uncomfortable 1.1
Uncomfortable 1.8
Extremely uncomfortable 2.7
Oborne and Clark (1974) Extremely comfortable <0.23
Comfortable 0.230.5
Uncomfortable limit 0.51.2
Uncomfortable 1.22.3
Very uncomfortable >2.3
Jones and Saunders (1974) Not uncomfortable 0.33
Average uncomfortable limit 0.7
Uncomfortable 1.2
Very uncomfortable 2.2
Extremely uncomfortable 3.7
Lipper (1946) Imperceptible <0.002
A little perceptible 0.002
Clearly perceptible 0.009
A little unsatisfactory 0.025
Unsatisfactory 0.08
Very unsatisfactory 0.25
VDI2057 (1963) AB 0.008
BC 0.02
CD 0.0504
DE 0.128
EF 0.32
FG 0.8
GH 2.0
HJ 5.04
BS6841 Imperceptible 0.0050.01
Perceptible 0.010.02
Clearly perceptible 0.020.04
Very clearly perceptible 0.040.08
Strong vibration feeling 0.080.16
Very strong vibration feeling 0.160.315
26 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
pi; j n
ij
=

m
j1
n
ij
. Results of experiment conducted by Grin in 1978 demonstrate that the distribution of
human response to vibration obeys lognormal distribution:
f u
1

2
p
pur
exp
Inu l
In
u
2
2r
2
_ _
; 50
r
2
In1 d
2
; 51
l
Inx
Inx
1
2
r
2
; 52
where d is the variation coecient and d = 0.3. Considering the fuzzy and stochastic distribution, calculation
formula of annoyance rate is presented as
Px
_
1
u
min
1

2
p
pur
exp
Inu=x 0:5 r
2

2
2r
2
_ _
vudu; 53
where v(u) = 0.541 In(u) + 0.625 for ISO2631, u
min
is the acceleration corresponding to the lowest class of
subjective comment. Annoyance rate can be plotted as in Fig. 20. Now we have the quantitative relationship
between acceleration and anoyance rate, and can accurately predict the rate of people who feel uncomfortable
to outside vibration.
In fact, the normal value of annoyance rate is less than 0.5. When the value is 0.70.8, the acceleration may
be too excessive. In the case it is not a problem of ride comfort but of safety, so we focus the forepart of
Fig. 19. Relation between membership and acceleration logarithmic value of acceleration.
Table 3
Relationship between ISO2631 total weighted RMS and subjective comment
Objective value (ISO2631 total weighted RMS) (m/s
2
) Subjective comment
<0.315 Not uncomfortable
0.3150.63 A little uncomfortable
0.51.0 Fairly uncomfortable
0.81.6 Uncomfortable
1.252.5 Very uncomfortable
>2.0 Extremely uncomfortable
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 27
anoyance rate curve. According to the international famous standard of vibration comfort, when the acceptable
lowest limit is r
1
, the unacceptable limit is 4r
1
. Considering that people need to drive normally under the vibra-
tion intensity for a long time, it is reasonable to set the unacceptable limit as 3r
1
. From Figs. 16 and 17, the
Fig. 20. Annoyance rate curve.
Table 4
Stiness matching before/after optimization
Value (N/
mm)
Seat stiness,
K
ch
Driving-room
stiness, K
dr
Front suspension
stiness, K
f
Middle suspension
stiness, K
m
Rear suspension
stiness, K
r
Variation
range
[30%, +30%] [30%, +30%] [30%, +30%] [30%, +30%] [30%, +30%]
Original 7.3 48.7 395.72 2791.5 2791.5
Optimization 5.1100 34.090 277.00 3210.2 3210.2
Fig. 21. Flowchart of optimization design by combining subjective and objective methods.
28 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
range of acceleration of the vehicle is 0.91.3 m/s
2
, which is larger than the unacceptable limit
3r
1
(3
*
0.315 = 0.945) according to the standard ISO2631. Obviously the comfort of the vehicle cannot be
acceptable. Furthermore, the rate of unacceptable people, which is approximately 30% determined from the
questionnaire given in Appendix A, agrees well with the annoyance rate curve. Due to the bad road condition
of western China and the tractors large load, drivers always complain for its poor comfort. If the rate of unac-
ceptable people decreases to 15%, the level vibration could be acceptable. The corresponding value of total
weighted RMS, which can be interpolated from annoyance rate curve, is not greater than 1.0 m/s
2
.
4. Optimization design of ride comfort based on annoyance rate model
To enhance eciency of human and vehicle system as much as possible is the idea of optimization. That is
to say, while meeting the request of maneuverability and safety, we try to improve the ride comfort. The
Fig. 22. Comparison of X-direction accelerations between before/after optimization.
Fig. 23. Comparison of X-direction PSDs between before/after optimization.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 29
comfort optimization problem is formulated as a constrained optimization problem shown as Eqs. (54) and
(55). Based on request of maneuverability and safety, the constraints are variation range of sensitive param-
eters and maximum limit of total weighted RMS. The independent variables chosen are the spring stinesses,
such as seat stiness K
ch
, driving-room stiness K
dr
, front suspension stiness K
f
, middle suspension stiness
K
m
and rear suspension stiness K
r
(K
m
= K
r
). These stiness parameters vary in the range of 30% and +30%
(see Table 4). The nal optimization scheme need further analysis of failure and economic. The whole ow-
chart of optimization design is shown as in Fig. 21. The optimization problem is formulated as
Minimize a
2
v

ix;y;z
w
i
a
iw

2
w
x
a
xw

2
w
y
a
yw

2
w
z
a
zw

2
; 54
Subject to
a
v
< 1:0;
0:7 k
i
6 k
i
6 1:3 k
i
; i 1; 2; ::; n:
_
55
Fig. 24. Comparison of Y-direction accelerations between before/after optimization.
Fig. 25. Comparison of Y-direction PSDs between before/after optimization.
30 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
In some sense, optimization of ride comfort for the special tractor is to nd out the matching relationship of
dierent parameters [21,22]. The design parameters mentioned previously are used to generate dierent con-
gurations. Each have ve dierent values, and work space is generated based on the Monte Carlo method in
ADAMS/Insight. Then ADAMS/view will simulate for each conguration and calculate the specied perfor-
mance measures, which are the accelerations in X, Y and Z directions. These accelerations data of each run
will be calculated by the Matlab program until minimal value of total weight RMS is achieved. The acceler-
ation and PSD in X, Y and Z directions with/without optimization are shown in Figs. 2227. Obviously the
amplitudes of the acceleration and PSD are distinctly reduced after optimization, and the total weight RMS is
0.9735 m/s
2
(<1.0 m/s
2
). Considering that the results of simulation are about 15% larger than that of exper-
iment ones, after conversion the value of experiment may be 0.8275 m/s
2
. Consequently the vibration level un-
der this conguration can be acceptable. According to the reports of DongFeng Automobile Engineering
Fig. 26. Comparison of Z-direction accelerations between before/after optimization.
Fig. 27. Comparison of Z-direction PSDs between before/after optimization.
Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133 31
Research Institute, the ride comfort of this vehicle is indeed improved after adjusting parameters based on the
optimization results.
5. Conclusions
A parametric model of the tractor with tandem suspension is modeled, where the nonlinear characteristics
of components such as leaf-spring, absorber and rubber sleeve are precisely described. The computer simula-
tion can simulate at specied speed and specied road surface roughness when the parameters of the tractor
are specied. Annoyance rate model is introduced to indicate the quantitative correlation between objective
method and subjective comment. With the denite relationship between them, it can give an accurate evalu-
ation index of ride comfort for the type of vehicle and determine a reasonable acceleration limit to further
improvement. The optimization design of ride comfort based on annoyance rate model helps to increase
the eciency of people and vehicle system as much as possible. The method is validated through the compar-
ison between the simulation and experiment results. The optimization work, shows that ride comfort of the
tractor can be improved by modifying of the parameters.
Acknowledgements
This research was partly supported by DongFeng Automobile Engineering Research Institute, Shiyan, Chi-
na. The author sincerely thanks Dr. Ming Jiang and engineer Yuliang Yang for their assistance in the exper-
iment. Dr. Li He and Dr. Xuefeng Jiang are also appreciated for provisions of instrumental vehicle and test
equipment.
Appendix A. Example of ride comfort subjective questionnaire
Name:
Mass: <60 kgh, 6070 kgh, 7080 kgh, 8090 kgh, 90100 kgh, >100 kgh
Length: <1.5 mh, 1.51.6 mh, 1.61.7 mh, 1.71.8 mh, 1.81.9 mh, >1.9 mh
Age: <20h, 2029h, 3039h, 4049h, 5059h, >60h
Fitness: Not uncomfortableh, A little uncomfortableh, Fairly uncomfortableh, uncomfort-
ableh, Very uncomfortableh, Extremely uncomfortableh
Exposure to tractor vehicles or o-road terrain:
Frequenth, Not frequenth, Military training?h
After you drive under the specic condition for a period of time, please mark the point on the line to indi-
cate your response:
32 Y. Yang et al. / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 1133
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