Elastomeric components are used extensively in the construction of the modern automobile to accommodate relative movement between metal parts, absorb shocks and to provide isolation from undesirable vibrations. Their small-amplitude dynamic stiffness and damping characteristics are the key mechanical properties most influencing vehicle NVH performance. Their large-amplitude static force-deflection characteristics are crucial for vehicle ride and handling performance. On the other hand, when a vehicle is driven on a rough road durability course at a proving ground, all elastomeric components experience large-amplitude dynamic loads. The durability loads transferred through each elastomeric component highly depend on the stiffness and damping characteristics of these components. Although a large amount of small-amplitude dynamic stiffness and damping data and large-amplitude static force deflection data are available for various vehicle elastomeric components in the industry, relatively limited information is available for large-amplitude dynamic stiffness and damping values.
In the current paper, large-deflection static and dynamic tests are conducted on five different types of elastomeric components from a production vehicle. The tests include static, force-relaxation, harmonic and transient impact loads. Most importantly, the amplitudes used in the tests reflect the ones that these elastomeric components actually experience in a vehicle durability test. The purpose of the study is to develop a good understanding of the mechanical behavior of typical vehicle elastomeric components in the operating range of a durability test. The generic stiffness and damping characteristics are presented which can be used as a guideline in elastomeric component modeling and in vehicle durability design.