Compliant Link Suspension
Published April 20, 2009 by SAE International in United States
Annotation of this paper is available
This paper discusses a compliant link suspension concept developed for use on a high performance automobile. This suspension uses compliant or flexible members to integrate energy storage and kinematic guidance functions. The goal of the design was to achieve similar elasto-kinematic performance compared to a benchmark OEM suspension, while employing fewer components and having reduced mass and complexity, and potentially providing packaging advantages. The proposed suspension system replaces a control arm in the existing suspension with a ternary supported compliant link that stores energy in bending during suspension vertical motion. The design was refined iteratively by using a computational model to simulate the elasto-kinematic performance as the dimensions and attachment point locations of the compliant link were varied, until the predicted performance closely matched the performance of the benchmark suspension. A mock-up of the proposed compliant link suspension was built together with an adjustable test fixture, and experiments were carried out to validate the results from simulations. The new suspension is less complex and weighs less than the original suspension without sacrificing basic elasto-kinematic performance.