When people think of automobile performance they normally think of horsepower, torque, and acceleration but all of the power generated by a piston engine is useless. If the driver can control the car automobile engineers turn their attention to the suspension system to maximize the friction between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and better handling. In today’s world, modern cars are the true wonders of engineering. They rely on multiple components and mechanical systems working together to guarantee smooth and safe operation.
What is suspension?
Your car’s suspension system is a protective lattice of shock-absorbing components such as springs and dampers. Your car’s suspension helps ensure that your drive is smooth and safe by absorbing the energy from various road bumps and other impacts. Furthermore, it helps your tires to stay in contact with the road by increasing tire friction. However, most people know a little bit about their car’s functions like how the engine works, how brakes work, and how suspension work. So we look into what are the different types of the suspension system and their components.
Components of suspension:
The suspension comes with two basic components such as springs, dampers a ball joint, a tie rod, a control arm, a sway bar, bushings, and struts.
Springs act as reservoirs of energy. When the vehicle passes over the irregularities of the road, it compresses the spring. This energy is released when the spring expands subsequently and with the help of dampers the energy is converted into heat and the spring absorbs the shock and avoids transfer to the vehicle frame. There are three types of springs used they are;
Leaf springs or laminated springs
Leaf springs are also known as laminated springs. They are steel strips that are mounted over one another. They are also called semi-elliptical springs as they are bent in that form. However, nowadays they are almost straight.
Coil springs can have constant variable rigidity. Items with constant stiffness have the same diameter on both ends. As for the second type, the diameter of the spring and rod varies in different ranges. In the center of both spring types, a types rubber bump stop is installed. This detail is required to smoothen fluctuations and prevent spring damage where it is fully compressed.
A torsion bar is a metal tube with rods inside. They work on the principle of twisting which means that before installation torsion bars are torqued around the axle and then make the force of untwisting. This function is controlled with special levers and shock absorbers using the bars as an elasticity element.
Dampers and shock absorbers:
Dampers commonly known as shock absorbers protect the chassis from the force caused when a wheel hits a bump and prevent the springs from continuously bouncing. They also push the wheel back to the road surface. A damper is a piston filled with oil that separates the chassis from the wheel. When the car hits a bump the piston push into the casing and is slowed by the oil which flows into another chamber as it’s compressed.
Knuckle or upright:
This is used to connect the wheels to the suspension system. The knuckle arm is positioned at the front wheel of the car. The wheel will be rotated continuously on the spindle shaft that comes from the knuckle arm. It is also connected to the lower arm using a ball joint. The knuckle is having a caster angle and a kingpin on the front wheels which helps in steering a vehicle in the left or right direction.
The strut is the main component of the suspension system. Strut is the combination of spring and damper which is having two ends that will be attached to the frame and the wheel. Spring is used to store kinetic energy into potential energy and the damper dissipated the kinetic energy into heat energy. Both these components work together from a stride assembly. The size of the spring used in the strut depends upon the load capacity of the vehicle.
You can also read this: wheel motor technology work?
These are also known as anti-roll bars. Anti-sway bars play a key role in passenger comfort and vehicle stability to improve performance. Anti-sway bars act as one of the key components in a vehicle suspension system. As the name suggests their purpose is to reduce body roll or sway when operating under cornering conditions.
The ball joint functions to accept various lateral and horizontal loads on the car. It is also helpful as a rotation axis when the vehicle is turning. Ball joints consist of metal housing and stud. The stud can swing and rotate within the housing. In this joint, you will usually find helpful oil for lubricating the various parts that rub against each other. Grease lubrication is also provided in the socket of the ball joint.
There are two types of ball joints.
- Upper ball joints
- Lower ball joints
Different Types of Suspension System Work:
Different types of suspension systems will be used in automobile vehicles. They are;
- Independent suspension system types.
- Non-Independent suspension system types or rigid axle suspension system.
Independent suspension system:
Independent suspension is an automobile suspension system that allows each wheel on the same axle to move vertically and independently of the others. In this wheels are linked movement on one side does not affect the wheel on the other side.
It is common for the left and right sides of the suspension to be connected with anti-roll bars or other mechanisms. Most modern vehicles have independent front suspension. Many vehicles also have independent rear suspension. It has almost the same advantages as the independent front suspension but the main advantage is that it reduces the un-sprung weight of the vehicle.
In independent suspension there are various types are available. They are;
First and strut suspension
Double wishbone suspension
In this system, the wheel is mounted on the wheel hub. The wheel hub is provided with two links that are upper link and the lower link. Both links are pivoted with the frame of the vehicle. A shock absorber is also placed between the frame and the lower link which consists of a flexible joint. When the vehicle moves on uneven surfaces the wheel faces shocks. These shocks are transferred to the shock absorber through the lower link. The shock absorber absorbs the maximum amount of shocks. The upper link is used to maintain the camber of the wheel. This system is complex as well as costly and it requires more space.
Multiple link suspension
Multi-link suspension is developed by double wishbone and multilink suspension developed by double wishbone and multilink which has a fairly complicated construction design because it has separate parts that are held together by joints. This type of suspension has a quality grip and controlling the car becomes easier.
The multi-link suspension also has many variations. If this suspension is damaged then the replacement process takes a long time and the spare parts are still rare so the price is relatively more expensive than the other suspensions.
Trailing arm suspension
Trailing arm independence suspension maintains constant track and wheel altitude with a slight change in wheelbase and caster angle. A coil spring is attached to the trailing arm which itself is attached to the shaft carrying the wheel hub. When the wheel moves up and down it winds and unwinds the spring. A torsion bar has also been used in certain designs in place of the coil springs.
Mac person strut suspension
Earl s Mac person an engineer with ford USA developed a single wishbone with a telescopic strut-type system in 1947. In this system on the lower side of the wheel hub lower control arm is located and on the upper end, a shock absorber or strut is placed which is attached to a flexible joint. Both the strut and lower control arm are connected to the frame of the vehicle with a flexible joint.
In the whole system, the main component is the strut which consists of a spring and a damper. When the vehicle comes in contact with the irregularities of the road the wheel moves up and down on the radius of the lower link. Due to this motion, all the shock is transferred to the shock which absorbs the maximum amount of fore. It has relatively simple construction which results in a compact design and is cheap.
Non- independent or rigid axle suspension system:
In this, both wheels on the same axle are dependent on each other. There is a solid or live axle it allows both the left and right wheels to connect as a team. If one side of the automobile bends in one direction then the n other side will bend in the same direction. This is called dependency.
In non-independent or rigid axle suspension systems there are two types they are;
Solid axle leaf spring suspension
Solid axle leaf spring suspension and solid axle coil spring suspension. In solid axle leaf spring suspension leaf springs are used as suspension members. The longest spring in the setup bends into a circle to form a spring’s eye. This spring’s eye is bolted to the spring hanger and the other end of the spring’s eye is attached to the shackle. This shackle allows the change in length of the spring when it bends. Also, the shackle includes a rubber bushing that absorbs vibrations and prevents them from reaching the vehicle. The center portion of the leaf spring is attached to the rear and axle housing with the help of U-bolts and a rebound clip holds all the springs together. This type of suspension is used in trucks intended for more severe operations and with a rear axle with a high payload.
Solid axle coil spring suspension
In this type, the coil springs are seated on pen-shaped brackets which are attached to the rear axle. Torque tube drives are also attached to this setup and the coil springs are not subjected to the driving thrust. The shock absorber prevents the vehicle from rolling and the energy stored in the coil springs is greater than the leaf springs.
This type of suspension is always used in conjunction with a torque tube. Torque reaction link or torque raw drive therefore the coil springs are not subjected to driving thrust or twist.
In air suspension system air spring is used instead of a mechanical spring. Air spring has a higher load carrying capacity than mechanical spring. Air spring also has the advantage of variable spring rate by adjusting air pressure which is not possible in the case of mechanical spring. In air spring two ends are provided one is mounted on the frame and the other is the swing arm. Three connection lines which are pressure line, return line and control line are also provided for the operation and control.
In this type of suspension system there is an integrated fluid-filled displacer fitted to each wheel. The front and rear units were connected making them two pairs. The units were filled with a mixture of alcohol water and additives to prevent corrosion. When wheel on one side of the car hit a bump in the road the fluid was displaced and caused the unit on the other wheel to react. In this way a bump at the front made the rear of the car rise to a corresponding height and the car always remain level.