Browse Publications Technical Papers 2011-01-2163
2011-09-13

Semitrailer Torsional Stiffness Data for Improved Modeling Fidelity 2011-01-2163

Vehicle dynamics models employed in heavy truck simulation often treat the semitrailer as a torsionally rigid member, assuming zero deflection along its longitudinal axis as a moment is applied to its frame. Experimental testing, however, reveals that semitrailers do twist, sometimes enough to precipitate rollover when a rigid trailer may have remained upright. Improving the model by incorporating realistic trailer roll stiffness values can improve assessment of heavy truck dynamics, as well as an increased understanding of the effectiveness of stability control systems in limit handling maneuvers.
Torsional stiffness measurements were conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for eight semitrailers of different types, including different length box vans, traditional and spread axle flat beds, and a tanker. Known moments were applied to the front of each trailer while the trailer twist angle was measured at various locations along the length of the trailer. Suspension stiffness, trailer body stiffness, and overall stiffness results were tabulated for all types.

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