Design and Qualification of a Test Fixture to Experimentally Determine Global Tire Force Properties
Cauthen III, Rea Kimbrell
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The advent of finite element methods has changed the tire industry's design process over the past three decades. Analyses, previously impractical using analytical methods and physically limited by experimental methods, can now be performed using computational methods. This decreases the cost and time associated with bringing a new design to the marketplace; however some physical testing is still required to validate the models. The design, fabrication, installation, and operation of a tire, suspension, and chassis test fixture (TiSCTeF) is detailed as part of this study. This fixture will support the validation of effective, parametric finite element models currently under development, as well as the design and testing of suspension and chassis components for the Virginia Tech Formula SAE team. The fixture is designed to use the Formula SAE race car as the test platform. Initially, the fixture is capable of performing static load-deflection and free-rolling tire tests. Provision has been made in the design for incremental upgrades to support cornering tests and additional instrumentation. An initial load-deflection test has proven that the fixture is capable of creating reproducible data sets. Specific recommendations are made concerning the improvement of data quality for future tests. This study also presents a process for analyzing existing tire cornering data and eliminating anomalies to improve the effectiveness of normalization techniques found in the literature. The process is shown to collapse tire cornering data, which is partially ill- conditioned, onto master curves that consistently display the effect of inclination angle and tire inflation pressure on tire response.
- Masters Theses