Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1301

Application of Empirical Asperity Contact Model to High Fidelity Wet Clutch System Simulations 2019-01-1301

Wet clutches are complex hydrodynamic devices used in both conventional and electrified drivetrain systems. They couple or de-couple powertrain components for applications such as automatic shifting, engine disconnect and torque vectoring. Clutch engagement behaviors vary greatly, depending on design parameters and operating conditions. Because of their direct impact on vehicle drivability and fuel economy, a predictive CAE model is desired for enabling analytical design verification processes. During engagement, a wet clutch transmits torque through viscous shear and asperity contact. A conventional Coulomb’s model, which is routinely utilized in shift simulations, is inadequate to capture non-linear hydrodynamic effects for higher fidelity analysis. Extensive research has been conducted over the years to derive hydrodynamic torque transfer models based on 1D squeeze film or 3D CFD. They are typically coupled with an elastic asperity contact model for mechanical torque transfer. However, the recent advancement reveals no significant asperity deformation at the frictional surface during engagement and establishes a new empirical asperity contact model. This paper describes the integration of the empirical asperity contact model with CFD for developing a high-fidelity wet clutch engagement model. The asperity models are examined in detail for four friction materials to highlight distinct contact behaviors. They are coupled with 3D CFD model in OpenFOAM for engagement simulations, demonstrating the importance of selecting the right asperity model for predictive clutch analysis. A breakdown of hydrodynamic and mechanical torques is provided, enabling numerical examination of clutch engagement processes. Simulation results are compared with clutch module test data that is specifically designed to replicate actual shifting conditions. It is found that accurate simulation of a complete clutch system requires not only engagement physics, but also in-depth understanding of actuator characteristics such as seal drag.


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