Tire Models for Vehicle Dynamic Simulation and Accident Reconstruction 2009-01-0102
Various vehicle dynamic simulation software programs have been developed for use in reconstructing accidents. Typically these are used to analyze and reconstruct preimpact and postimpact vehicle motion. These simulation programs range from proprietary programs to commercially available packages. While the basic theory behind these simulations is Newton's laws of motion, some component modeling techniques differ from one program to another. This is particularly true of the modeling of tire force mechanics. Since tire forces control the vehicle motion predicted by a simulation, the tire mechanics model is a critical feature in simulation use, performance and accuracy. This is particularly true for accident reconstruction applications where vehicle motions can occur over wide ranging kinematic wheel conditions. Therefore a thorough understanding of the nature of tire forces is a necessary aspect of the proper formulation and use of a vehicle dynamics program.
This paper includes a discussion of tire force terminology, tire force mechanics, the measurement and modeling of tire force components and combined tire force models currently used in simulation software for the reconstruction of accidents. The paper discusses the difference between the idealized tire force ellipse and an actual tire friction ellipse. Equations are presented for five tire force models from three different simulation programs. Each model uses a different method for computing tire forces for combined braking and steering. Some experimentally measured light vehicle tire properties are examined.
Some tire force models begin with a specified level of braking force and use the friction ellipse to determine the corresponding steering force; this produces steering forces and a resultant tire force equal in magnitude to full skidding for combined steering and braking. Comparisons are presented of results from simulation programs using different tire models for vehicle motions involving two types of severe yaw. The comparisons in this paper are not of reconstructions where the user seeks initial conditions to match an existing trajectory. The first comparison is a hypothetical postimpact motion with a given initial velocity and initial angular velocity and the other is a sudden steer maneuver. In some cases, the simulations and their tire models predict the vehicle motion closely. In most cases, however, the results differ significantly between simulation programs.
The example simulations presented in this paper are not intended to reflect the way vehicle dynamic simulation programs are used typically in accident reconstruction.