The automotive suspension system has the responsibility to ensure a safe and comfortable drive. The vehicle suspension system is the connection between the vehicle and the road and all the forces that occur between the two parties go through the suspension system. Thus the suspension system becomes a system capable of adapting to the challenges of various driving conditions.
The Main Functions of Automotive Suspension System
- Basically, any vehicle suspension system is made of three major components: spring, shock absorbers, and wishbones.
- The efficiency of a suspension is measured by how well the components can filter the forces that are transferred between the road and the vehicle.
- In this respect, the spring is responsible with a comfortable drive. It carries the vehicle mass and deals with road imperfections.
- The damper is responsible for safety. The essence of a safe drive is a non-bouncing wheel. The damper must control wheel bouncing; which means the transfer of contact forces from the road to the vehicle.
- Ride quality stands in the capacity of the suspension components to isolate the vehicle’s body from the road’s turbulence. It also needs to reduce the resonance peak to a frequency that is not disturbing to the human ear.
- Ride stability is insured by keeping the tires in contact with the road as much as possible. The larger the contact surface is, the greater ride stability the vehicle will have and thus, the more efficient the suspension system.
- As a contradiction, better ride stability can be achieved with a harder damper while better ride quality can be achieved with a softer damper.
Essentially, the vehicle suspension has evolved from passive to active suspension systems while going through the semi-active phase, as well and other in-between types of suspension. Nowadays, the various types of suspension systems are present as various vehicles populate the roads.
- The passive suspension system is always a compromise between comfort and safety. With this type of suspension, you need to choose either comfort by sacrificing stability or stability by sacrificing comfort.
- The semi-active type of suspension is trying to adapt the damper’s functions to the road conditions; meaning that it tries to find a balance between stiffness and softness so as to deliver the maximum comfort and stability given the driving conditions.
- The active suspension systems are more complex and require more energy input as their mechanism is different. It works by applying supplementary force to counteract the actual forces transferred from the road.
However, the full complexity and sophistication of the automotive suspension system is yet to be conquered.