Experimental Method Development for Steering Wheel System Optimization With Integral Dynamic Tuned Absorber 2005-01-2275
The automotive industry is continually moving toward lighter automobiles and components in order to improve fuel economy and reduce costs. The steering wheel is not exempt from this effort, and weight reduction efforts sometimes result in an increased sensitivity to tire imbalance that the customer feels as steering wheel “nibble”. One method of attenuating nibble is to install Dynamic Tuned Absorber (DTA) elements on the steering wheel. DTA's must be tuned to the nibble frequency to provide effective nibble attenuation. When tuned to the nibble frequency, the absorber attenuates the periodic nibble vibrations resulting in reduced steering wheel accelerations and fewer customer complaints.
The objective of this experimental effort is to design a test capable of optimizing steering wheel absorber performance in the lab. First, the DTA Functional Test System developed allows one to quickly and quantitatively characterize steering wheel / absorber systems in the laboratory with a minimal number of components. Second, the test system is portable and has been used to characterize parts at manufacturing plants, and requires only the steering column and wheel. Third, the subject test system allows one to optimize absorber parameters (spring rate, mass, etc) to maximize attenuation characteristics. Finally, this paper presents transfer function curves for a range of tuned absorber designs, and an effectiveness characteristic is derived from the analyses for ranking purposes.