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Oct 12, 2019

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Analysis of FEM

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Analysis of FEM

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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.

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].

Property Value

Elastic Modulus (E) 70GPa

Yield Strength (σy) 162.5MPa

Poisson’s Ratio (ν) 0.33

REQUIRED ANALYSES

Static Stress-Displacement

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.

TITLE OF REPORT: ANALYSIS OF A DOUBLE WISHBONE SUSPENSION

SYSTEM

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:

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.

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.

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 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.

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 6: Upper Control Arm Mesh Refinement (Zoomed View)

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 8: Maximum Stress (Upper Control Arm)

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

below.

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

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 2 → 𝐼𝐼 = =

12 12

𝐼𝐼 = 520833.33 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚4

𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸 3 → 𝜎𝜎𝜎𝜎 = =

𝐼𝐼 520833.33 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚4

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.

𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸𝐸 4 → 𝛿𝛿𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 = =

3 × 𝐸𝐸 × 𝐼𝐼 3 × 70000 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 × 520833.33 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚4 × 2

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).

2.2 Mesh Convergence

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].

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.

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

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.

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.

The following changes and improvements have been recommended for the double wishbone

suspension system structure:

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.

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,

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