Browse Publications Technical Papers 2011-01-2167

Parabolic Leaf Spring Design Optimization Considering FEA & Rig Test Correlation 2011-01-2167

Parabolic leaf springs are safety components on the suspension system. They provide ride comfort due to calculated stiffness characteristics and they absorb and release energy associated with the road outputs of a fully loaded vehicle. Leaf springs determine the desired vehicle ride height from the ground. As a critical safety part, leaf spring endurance must be ensured.
Conventional leaf springs, multi-parabolic leaf springs and parabolic leaf springs are the general types in use. The most commonly used type of leaf spring is the parabolic leaf spring. The main advantages of parabolic leaf springs are that they are lighter, cheaper, with fatigue advantages, and they isolate more noise.
Classical leaf spring design and prototype process methodology consists of fatigue tests repeated for each case considering different geometry alternatives, leaf layer additions, material and suspension hard points improvements. This methodology takes a long time and requires a significant budget.
In this study, five-layer parabolic leaf springs have been optimized to four layers based on material, geometric design improvement, nonlinear finite element analyze calculations regarding boundary conditions of leaf spring. The rig test validation of 5-layer parabolic leaf springs which is well correlated with finite element results has been summarized. Later, the finite element model of the new design has been generated by decreasing weight through removing layers at the same boundary conditions and evaluations have been made in comparison with the first design.
Performance requirement considering load and deflection, packaging requirements considering parabolic leaf spring length, width, service requirement, risk assessments, business considerations, and all other requirements regarding optimized parabolic leaf spring design have been detailed.
This paper presents a precise method called the OlgunÇelik virtual prototype process and will remain as a reference for leaf spring producers and designers.


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