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Technical Paper

Evolution of the Ride Comfort of Alfa Romeo Cars since 1955 until 2005

The ride comfort of three Alfa Romeo cars, namely Giulietta (1955), Alfetta (1972) and 159 (2005) has been assessed both objectively and subjectively. The three cars belong to the same market segment. The aim is to let young engineers or graduate students understand how technology has evolved and eventually learn a lesson from the assessed trend. A number of cleats have been fixed at the ground and the three cars have traversed such uneven surface. The objective assessment of the ride comfort has been performed by means of accelerometers fixed at the seat rails, additionally a special dummy developed at Politecnico di Milano has been employed. The subjective assessment has been performed by a panel of passengers. The match between objective and subjective ratings is very good. Simple mathematical models have been employed to establish a (successful) comparison between experimental and computational results. The ride comfort differs substantially among the cars.
Journal Article

Bifurcation Analysis of a Car Model Running on an Even Surface - A Fundamental Study for Addressing Automomous Vehicle Dynamics

The paper deals with the bifurcation analysis of a simple mathematical model describing an automobile running on an even surface. Bifurcation analysis is adopted as the proper procedure for an in-depth understanding of the stability of steady-state motion of cars (either cornering or running straight ahead). The aim of the paper is providing the fundamental information for inspiring further studies on vehicle dynamics with or without a human driver. The considered mechanical model of the car has two degrees of freedom, nonlinear tire characteristics are included. A simple driver model is introduced. Experimental validations of the model are produced. As a first step, bifurcation analysis is performed without driver (fixed control). Ten different combinations of front and rear tire characteristics (featuring understeer or oversteer automobiles) are considered. Steering angle and speed are varied. Many different dynamical behaviors of the model are found.
Technical Paper

Lightweight Seat Design and Crash Simulations

The lightweight seat of a high performance car is designed taking into account a rear impact, i.e. the crash due to an impulse applied from the rear. The basic parameters of the seat structure are derived resorting to simulations of a crash with a test dummy positioned on the seat. The simulations provide the forces acting at the seat structure, in particular the forces applied at the joint between the seat cushion and the seat backrest are taken into account. Such a joint is simulated as a plastic hinge and dissipates some of the crash energy. The simulations are validated by means of indoor tests with satisfactory results. A tool has been developed for the preliminary design of lightweight seats for high performance cars.
Technical Paper

A New Electric Powertrain for Light Trucks: Indoor Testing and Advanced Simulation

A new electric powertrain and axle for light/medium trucks is presented. The indoor testing and the simulation of the dynamic behavior are performed. The powertrain and axle has been produced by Streparava and tested at the Laboratory for the Safety of Transport of the Politecnico di Milano. The tests were aimed at defining the multi-physics perfomance of the powertrain and axle (efficiency, acceleration and braking, temperature and NVH). The whole system for indoor tests was composed by the powertrain and axle (electric motor, driveline, suspensions, wheels) and by the test rig (drums, driveline and electric motor). The (driving) axle was positioned on a couple of drums, and the drums provided the proper torques to the wheels to reproduce acceleration and braking. Additionally a cleat fixed on one drum excited the vibration of the suspensions and allowed assessing NVH performance. The simulations were based on a special co-simulation between 1D-AMESIM and VIRTUAL.LAB.