Experimental Evaluation of the Dynamic Performance Benefits of Roll Stability Control Systems on A-train Doubles
Kim, Andrew Eundong
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The ride stability of an A-train 28-foot double tractor trailer when outfitted with different Roll Stability Control (RSC) systems with the same payload and suspension configurations is studied experimentally for various dynamic maneuvers. The primary goal of the study is to determine the effect of different commercially-available RSC systems on the extent of improvements they offer for increasing roll stability of commercial vehicles with double trailers, when subjected to limit-steering maneuvers that can rise during highway driving. A semitruck and two 28-foot trailers are modified for enduring the forces and moments that can result during testing. A load structure is used for placing the ballast loads within the trailers at a suitable height for duplicating the CG height of the trailers during their commercial use. Outriggers and jackknifing arresting mechanisms are used to prevent vehicle damage and ensure safety during the tests. The test vehicle is equipped with multiple sensors and cameras for the necessary measurements and observations. The analog and video data are time-synced for correlating the measurements with visual observation of the test vehicle dynamics in post-processing. An extensive number of tests are conducted at the Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds (MLPG) in Laurens, SC. The tests include evaluating each RSC system with different maneuvers and speeds until a rollover occurs or the vehicle is deemed to be unstable. The maneuvers that are used for the tests include: double lane change, sine-with-dwell, J-turn, and ramp steer maneuver. Both a steering robot and subjective driver are used for the tests. The test data are analyzed and the results are used to compare the three RSC systems with each other, and with trailers without RSC. The test results indicate that all three RSC systems are able to improve the speed at which rollover occurs, with a varying degree. For two of the systems, the rollover speed gained, when compared with trailers without RSC, is marginal. For one of the systems, there are more significant speed gains. Since most RSC systems are tuned for a conventional tractor-trailer, additional testing with some of the systems would be necessary to enable the manufacturers to better fine-tune the RSC control scheme to the dynamics of double trailers.
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