Enhancing Vehicle Performance Through Cornering SimulationJake Rawn, an MTS applications engineer, discusses expanding the use of the MTS Kinematic & Compliance (K&C) Measurement System to simulate cornering events.
Q: Describe cornering simulation. Why is it significant?
Rawn: Cornering simulation obtains an entire vehicle’s response to simultaneously applied force inputs. Simulating cornering events requires coordinated control of multiple inputs, along with the ability to precisely measure force and displacement—and these requirements make it a natural extension of the MTS K&C Measurement System.
Different from traditional K&C tests, however, cornering simulation includes the entire vehicle in the machine control loop, while simultaneously imposing user-defined lateral acceleration, longitudinal acceleration, and downforce independently at each wheel. This combination of inputs allows the measurement of wheel position response to all relevant force and motion inputs. Such wheel position responses are highly valuable to chassis engineers, because they determine directional control and stability of the vehicle.
Simulating cornering events is especially significant for motorsports professionals, because their vehicles regularly operate near critical performance limits, and even subtle performance adjustments can result in competitive advantage.
For example, the attitude of the vehicle changes due to the cornering loads. Applying cornering loads and measuring the responses simultaneously allows optimization of vehicle attitude to maximize the aerodynamic downforce and grip. Simply put, by understanding the dynamics involved in corner entry and mid-corner and corner exit, motorsports professionals benefit from the ability to systematically gain insight into the performance of their vehicles. They don’t have to depend on gut feeling alone to make critical setup decisions.
Q: How will vehicle dynamics engineers benefit from the cornering simulation capability?
Rawn: Evaluating vehicle response in the controlled environment of the lab helps engineers quickly reveal and resolve vehicle dynamics issues, while also minimizing the time and expense associated with track testing.
In addition, by using this single multifunctional system, engineers can evaluate the vehicle-level response of many chassis setups via simulation, and then apply single, isolated degree-of-freedom inputs to decompose that response for deeper understanding.
Q: Is an MTS cornering simulator currently in use anywhere?
Rawn: Many vehicle manufacturers have taken advantage of the MTS K&C Measurement System to implement combined loading in various ways. Early next year, one motorsports group will install a system in a new facility in North Carolina, and will use the cornering simulation capability as a key tool for understanding and optimizing their race vehicles.
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