Design Analysis and Testing of Dampers for a Formula SAE Race Car 2006-01-3641
This paper represents work completed by the authors as members of the 2006 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Formula SAE Team (MRacing). The purpose of this report is not to discuss specific manufacturing processes or the development of particular damping curves (of the physical damper), but rather to provide guidelines for the design of a damper for use on a Formula SAE race car. The paper begins with an investigation into the various modes of damper operation and how they relate to the dynamics of the vehicle. Next several simulation models are developed to help determine preliminary damper targets in each of the specific regimes of operation. Computational fluid dynamics are used to aid the implementation of external adjustments and examine their effect on the resultant damping force. Finally full vehicle modeling is used to validate the characteristics of the chosen force vs. velocity curve and compare with vehicle data measured on track. Also, comparisons between the custom damper and a common damper employed by many Formula SAE teams are made using both data measured on track and computer predictions.