Elastomeric Suspensions with Geometric Spring Rates for Off-Highway Vehicles 700738
This paper describes an off-highway vehicle suspension using modular elastomer-bonded-to-metal impact cushioning pads. The modular impact pads are stacked inside telescoping struts which are connected between the axle and the frame. The rheology of the elastomer and the cross-sectional shape of the pads give a geometric load versus deflection curve, a near-linear spring rate versus load curve, and a near-constant frequency at any level of load. These characteristics limit excessive deflections and increase the stability and controllability of the vehicle. The modular impact pads are self-damping, dissipating a large percentage of the applied energy, and require no auxiliary shock absorbers. A wide range of spring functions and damping functions are possible by utilizing different elastomers, pad shape, pad sizes, and numbers of pads. Initial cost and weight are less than conventional springs and struts. Maintenance costs are negligible and service lives of more than 25,000 operating hours have been recorded between overhauls.