A Multibody Dynamics Approach to Leaf Spring Simulation for Upfront Analyses
Drivelines used in modern pickup trucks commonly employ universal joints. This type of joint is responsible for second driveshaft order vibrations in the vehicle. Large displacements of the joint connecting the driveline and the rear axle have a detrimental effect on vehicle NVH. As leaf springs are critical energy absorbing elements that connect to the powertrain, they are used to restrain large axle windup angles. One of the most common types of leaf springs in use today is the multi-stage parabolic leaf spring. A simple SAE 3-link approximation is adequate for preliminary studies but it has been found to be inadequate to study axle windup. A vast body of literature exists on modeling leaf springs using nonlinear FEA and multibody simulations. However, these methods require significant amount of component level detail and measured data. As such, these techniques are not applicable for quick sensitivity studies at design conception stage.