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PROPOSAL: ANALYSIS OF A DOUBLE WISHBONE SUSPENSION SYSTEM

Figure 1: SolidWorks Assembly Drawing of the Double Wishbone Suspension System.

DESCRIPTION OF STRUCTURE

The structure that needs analysing in FE software is a double wishbone suspension system for
an automobile. The double wishbone suspension system is an independent mechanism
containing a spring for shock absorption. The system also allows the tire of the vehicle to
maintain more surface area on the road compared to regular wishbone systems. The double
wishbone structure utilises upper and lower control arms, usually made of strong lightweight
aluminium alloys. Each control arm is connected to the automobile chassis via two mounting
points (clamped edges). The wheel connects to the other end of the control arms [1].

The parts that need analysed are the two control arms, the spring guide (attached to upper
control arm) and the spring (as well as the connections between them) as seen in the wishbone
structure in figure 1. The frame of the car and the wheels do not need modelling or analysed.
The parts provided for analysis include the control arm and the spring guide (dimensions
provided on next page in figure 2). The spring as well as any additional connections required
should be modelled within the chosen FE software. The following bullet-points describe the
loads, boundary conditions and constraints required for the structure in the FE analysis.

• A simple line (vertical length of 300mm) has been used to represent the connection
between the two control arms in figure 1 (control arm connection). Although this
connection is not required to be modelled, there is a load of 3680N applied vertically
upwards at the centre of this connection. This load represents the force the wheel
would exert on the structure and should be modelled appropriately.
• The four edges of the control arms need to be clamped (as shown in figure 1). This
represents the area in which the wishbone connects to the chassis of the automobile.
• Appropriate constraints should be applied to attach the spring guide to the upper arm
as shown in figure 1. Appropriate constraints should also be applied to attach the
spring to the centre of the lower arm as shown in figure 1. The other end of the spring
passes through the hole in the spring guide and is fixed to the chassis.

Below are the dimensions of the control arm and spring guide parts (figure 2). It should be
noted that the upper control arm does not contain the 24mm diameter hole (only the lower
control arm). The cross-sectional area of the spring is 452mm2 with length 600mm.

Figure 2: Control Arm (left) and Spring Guide (right) Dimensions

MATERIAL PROPERTIES

The material that has been chosen for the control arms and spring guide is Aluminium 6060
T6. All of its relevant properties can be seen in table 1 below [2].

Table 1: Aluminium 6060 T6 Properties

Property Value
Elastic Modulus (E) 70GPa
Yield Strength (σy) 162.5MPa
Poisson’s Ratio (ν) 0.33

REQUIRED ANALYSES

Static Stress-Displacement

A static stress-displacement analysis is required to determine if the wishbone structure will


fail. The yield strength of the material is 162.5MPa (as stated above in table 1) and as such
any stress values in the structure above this value will cause the structure to fail. The structure
can be deemed safe if there is no stress exceeding this value. A full report detailing the points
of maximum stress and displacement should be produced with recommendations suggesting
how the structure can be improved.

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 2


TITLE OF REPORT: ANALYSIS OF A DOUBLE WISHBONE SUSPENSION
SYSTEM

Alex Mullen, Sebastian Tamayo and Sai Kiran Varma Vadlakonda.

Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering


Northumbria University, United Kingdom

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of this report is to analyse a double wishbone suspension system structure, for an
automobile, using Abaqus FE simulation software. The report is only concerned with the
wishbone structure and as such the wheel and chassis have not been modelled. A static stress-
displacement analysis has been undertaken with the aim of finding the maximum stress and
maximum displacement in the structure. It should be noted that the spring guide has not been
used as part of the final analysis as it had no impact on the results obtained.

The maximum stress that was found in the structure was equal to 46.66MPa and the
maximum displacement 1.006mm. The maximum stress was found in the clamped region of
the upper control arm and maximum displacement at the free end of the upper control arm.
All results and calculations can be found in section 2 of this report.

Although the maximum stress (46.66MPa) is lower than the specified yield strength of the
material (162.5MPa), the results need to be validated before a conclusion is made. The hand
calculations and mesh convergence study conducted backup the validity of the results
obtained. The stress safety factor was calculated to be equal to 3.48 which can be considered
reasonably high. It can therefore be concluded that, under the specified conditions of the
proposal document, the results obtained indicate the structure is safe and should not fail.
There are however recommendations that have been made regarding the structure. These are
detailed in full in sub-section 3.2 of this report but the main points are listed below:

• It is difficult to correctly analyse the structure without a proper connection between


the two control arms and as such this connection should also ideally be modelled.
More details about this connection would need to be provided in the proposal
document for FE modelling however.
• It is recommended that a non-linear FE analysis should be undertaken to cover the
plastic deformation region of the stress-strain curve. This will ensure more accurate
results and can account for structure fatigue.

There are limitations to this report. As mentioned above, it is recommended that a non-linear
analysis should be conducted for accuracy of results. To add to this, the static analysis
undertook does not take into account any lateral forces (e.g. car turning) or impact forces (e.g.
uneven surfaces). This is something that could be modelled using a non-linear analysis. It is
also being assumed that there is an equal distribution of the 3680N force between the two
control arms. In reality this may not be the case but it was the easiest way to model the
structure without being able to model the control arm connection. Another assumption is that
the truss is rigid due to full spring compression.

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 3


1. INTRODUCTION

This report seeks to analyse if the double wishbone suspension system will fail under the
specified conditions outlined in the proposal document. To calculate whether this will be the
case, a static stress-displacement analysis will be undertaken in Abaqus FE simulation
software. These results will be checked for validity against hand calculations and finally
conclusions and recommendations will be made on the structure. Consistent units will be used
when applying values in Abaqus with displacement displayed in millimetres (mm) and stress
in megapascals (MPa).

2. RESULTS

All results of stress shown in this report will be von Mises stress values. The von Mises stress
has been selected due to its higher accuracy compared to Tresca criterion for aluminium [3].
The static stress analysis results will be presented and discussed in sub-section 2.1. For the
analysis, the spring guide part has not been used as it has no bearing on the results for stress
or displacement.

2.1 Static Stress Analysis

2.1.1 Boundary Conditions, Loads and Constraints

Figure 3 below shows the multiple point constraints (MPCs) on the lower control arm. MPCs
are used to connect nodes and DOFs together into a single point for analysis [4]. An MPC has
been used to connect one end (node) of the spring to the centre of the hole (radius 12mm), in
the lower control arm. The hole is the same radius as the spring and as such simulates realistic
conditions for constraining the two parts. The upper and lower control arms also contain an
MPC each, at their centre, for applying the load of 3680N. It is being assumed that this load
will be distributed evenly between the control arms (1840N per control arm).

MPC 1

MPC 2

Figure 3: Lower Control Arm MPCs

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 4


Figure 4 below shows the clamped boundary conditions that restrict all degrees of freedom
(DOFs) so the control arms and spring cannot move at these points. The orange points signify
the nodes that have been restricted.

Figure 4: Clamped Boundary Conditions

2.1.2 Mesh Refinement

The global seeds were initially set at 25mm for the two control arms. The mesh has been
refined at the areas of maximum stress (at the clamped edges of the upper control arm). A
20mm partition was created from each of these two edges so the mesh could be refined more
efficiently. Figures 5 (below) and 6 (on next page) show the partition refinement. The
elements in the mesh have been kept rectangular in shape and have been refined (size
reduced) so as to increase the accuracy of the results [5].

Figure 5: Upper Control Arm Mesh Refinement

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 5


Figure 6: Upper Control Arm Mesh Refinement (Zoomed View)

2.1.3 Static Stress-Displacement Analysis Results

For the static stress analysis, both the upper and lower control arms were modelled using 8
node brick (hexahedron) 3D solid elements (C3D8). Solid elements were used as the control
arms are not thin or hollow and the stress values are required. The lower control arm gave low
stress values and could therefore have been modelled using 2 node cubic beam elements
(B33) for a quicker and more efficient simulation. The low stress results in the lower control
arm are due to the spring. The spring has been modelled as a simple 2 node truss element
(T3D2) with fixed degrees of freedom (DOFs) at both ends and a large elastic modulus
(10^15 MPa) to simulate full spring compression. As this is fully compressed and attached to
the lower control arm, there is little stress in the lower arm. The stress results can be seen in
figure 7 below and in figure 8 on the next page.

Figure 7: Stress Distribution in Double Wishbone Structure

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 6


Figure 8: Maximum Stress (Upper Control Arm)

The results for maximum displacement in the structure (1.006mm) can be seen in figure 9
below.

Figure 9: Maximum Displacement

2.1.4 Safety Factor

The safety factor (SF) can be calculated using yield strength (σy) and maximum stress (σmax)
as shown in the below equation [6]:

𝜎𝜎𝑦𝑦 162.50
𝑆𝑆𝑆𝑆 = = = 3.48
𝜎𝜎𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 46.66

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 7


2.1.5 Hand Calculation Results Validation for Static Analysis

Hand calculations can be used to verify the validity of the results obtained from Abaqus. The
results of maximum stress obtained from Abaqus can be checked against a hand calculation
for bending stress. This is shown in equations 1, 2 and 3 below where σb=bending stress,
Mmax=maximum bending moment, F=force applied (1840N), L=distance from clamped
region to point of applied force (500mm), I=second moment of area, y=distance to the middle
axis (25mm), b=breadth of control arm cross-section and h=height of control arm cross-
section [7].

𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸 1 → 𝑀𝑀𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 = 𝐹𝐹 × 𝐿𝐿 = 1840 𝑁𝑁 × 500 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚

𝑀𝑀𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 = 920000 𝑁𝑁. 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚

𝑏𝑏 × ℎ3 50 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 × (50 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)3


𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸 2 → 𝐼𝐼 = =
12 12

𝐼𝐼 = 520833.33 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚4

𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 × 𝑦𝑦 920000 𝑁𝑁. 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 × 25 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚


𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸 3 → 𝜎𝜎𝜎𝜎 = =
𝐼𝐼 520833.33 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚4

𝜎𝜎𝜎𝜎 = 44.16 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀

The above result for bending stress (equation 3) validates the result from Abaqus due to the
relatively small difference between the two values (44.16MPa and 46.66MPa).

The results of maximum deflection obtained from Abaqus can also be checked against a hand
calculation for maximum deflection. This is shown in equation 4 below where F=force
applied (1840N), E=elastic modulus (70000MPa), L=distance from clamped region to point
of applied force (500mm), I=second moment of area (520833.33mm4) and δmax=maximum
deflection [8].

It should be noted that the second moment of area is multiplied by 2 as the point of maximum
deflection is at the free end. At this point, the control arm can be simplified (for
approximation) into two connecting beams with each one having a second moment of area
equal to 520833.33mm4. Hence this is why the second moment of area needs to be multiplied
by 2 in the equation.

𝐹𝐹 × 𝐿𝐿3 1840 𝑁𝑁 × (500 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚)3


𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸 4 → 𝛿𝛿𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 = =
3 × 𝐸𝐸 × 𝐼𝐼 3 × 70000 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 × 520833.33 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚4 × 2

𝛿𝛿𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 = 1.0514 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚

The above result for maximum deflection (equation 4) validates the result from Abaqus due to
the relatively small difference between the two values (1.0514mm and 1.006mm).

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 8


2.2 Mesh Convergence

2.2.1 Why Mesh Convergence is Important

It is important to ensure the mesh has converged as results may be inaccurate otherwise. To
ensure convergence, stress jumps between adjacent elements can be checked. If the difference
is less than 10%, this suggests convergence. Alternatively, a graph of stress against number of
elements can show convergence when the plotted line levels out [9].

2.2.2 Proof of Mesh Convergence

Table 2 below shows the results of the mesh refinement. The number of elements along each
edge of the partition was increased until the stress values showed convergence.

Table 2: Mesh Refinement Results

No. of Elements Stress (MPa)


10 29.31
20 38.06
30 44.44
40 46.66
50 47.20

Figure 10 (below) shows the results from table 2 in graphical form. It can be seen from the
figure that mesh has converged at around 40 elements at each edge. The partition was
therefore chosen to contain 40 elements at each edge for the analysis.

50
45
40
35
Stress (MPa)

30
25
20
15
10
5
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Number of Elements

Figure 10: Mesh Convergence

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 9


3. CONCLUSIONS

The conclusions from the findings of the analysis carried out in section 2 are outlined in sub-
section 3.1. Sub-section 3.2 outlines the recommendations for any changes/improvements to
be made to the double wishbone suspension system structure.

3.1 Results Conclusions

The results obtained from the Abaqus static stress analysis indicate that the structure will not
fail. In fact, the safety factor is found to be 3.48 which is reasonably high [10]. The mesh
convergence study suggests the results have converged and are therefore accurate. The hand
calculations also verify the static analysis results. Although the results appear positive and
correct, there are some assumptions that have been made. It is being assumed that there is an
equal distribution of the 3680N force between the two control arms. In reality this may not be
the case but it was the easiest way to model the structure without being able to model the
control arm connection. Another assumption is that the truss is rigid due to full spring
compression. Taking all of this into account, sub-section 3.2 of this report outlines
recommendations for the structure.

3.2 Structure Recommendations

The following changes and improvements have been recommended for the double wishbone
suspension system structure:

1. It is difficult to correctly analyse the structure without a proper connection between


the two control arms and as such this connection should also ideally be modelled.
More details about this connection would need to be provided in the proposal
document to model this however.
2. For the static analysis, a rigid beam could have been used instead of a truss. This is
because it is in full compression and therefore rigid anyway. This may not be the case
however for a non-static analysis.
3. It is recommended that a non-linear FE analysis should be undertaken to cover the
plastic deformation region of the stress-strain curve. This will ensure more accurate
results and can account for structure fatigue. It is however a much more complex and
time consuming analysis.
4. A non-linear analysis could also be used to determine when the spring enters full
compression which would also improve the accuracy of results.
5. The static analysis does not take into account any lateral forces (e.g. car turning) or
impact forces (e.g. uneven surfaces). This is again something that could be modelled
using a non-linear analysis.
6. Although the material has a safety factor of 3.48, this could be even higher (safer). By
increasing the amount of material being used (i.e. greater material thickness), the
maximum stress in the structure would decrease and therefore the safety factor would
increase. Using a material with higher yield strength could also increase the safety
factor, assuming other material properties remained unchanged.

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 10


4. REFERENCES

[1] Gilles, T. 2005. Automotive Chassis: Brakes, Steering & Suspension, 1st Edition,
Thomson Delmar Learning,
[2] Ashby, M. 2017. CES EduPack, Granta Design,
[3] Borja, R.I. 2013. Plasticity: Modelling & Computation, 1st Edition, Springer,
[4] Ochsner, A; Altenbach, H. 2015. Mechanical and Materials Engineering of Modern
Structure and Component Design, 1st Edition, Springer,
[5] Lo, D.S.H. 2015. Finite Element Mesh Generation, 2nd Edition, CRC Press,
[6] Frantziskonis, G.N. 2013. Essentials of the Mechanics of Materials, 2nd Edition,
DEStech Publications,
[7] Stephens, R.C. 2013. Strength of Materials, 2nd Edition, Elsevier,
[8] Bansal, R.K. 2009. Strength of Materials, 4th Edition, Laxmi,
[9] Lewis, O.W. 2008. Fundamentals of Finite Element Method for Heat and Fluid Flow,
4th Edition, John Wiley and Sons,
[10] Mott, R.L. 2004. Machine Elements in mechanical Design, 4th Edition, Pearson,

Analysis of a Double Wishbone Suspension System 11