Research activities

Vehicle Dynamics Research

Investigation of heat build-up in aircraft tyres during take-off and landing

This is a Teaching Company project jointly funded by Dunlop Aircraft Tyres Ltd and the DTI through the Teaching Company Directorate. The major objectives are to investigate heat build-up in the tyre carcass during aircraft take-off and landing and to develop Finite Element models for simulating the heat build-up in the tyre. This will enable DATL to rapidly evaluate new tyre designs and optimise such designs before prototypes are built resulting in very substantial savings in tyre development costs. 

Rolling tyre dynamics 

This is a continuation of an existing line of research which has already produced several publications as well as attracting test work from industry. A steer facility has been added to the triaxial tyre dynamics rig to facilitate experimental analysis and theoretical modelling to characterise the dynamic behaviour of rolling vehicle tyres under steer. Current research is on finite element modelling of rolling tyres. This is aimed at generating, theoretically, the dynamic characteristics of tyres for use in vehicle ride and handling studies. Substantial progress has been made in the development of models and a grant application has been submited to EPSRC to support this work.

Vehicle ride modelling

Commercial vehicle ride modelling packages like ADAMS and DADS are very expensive to use and have a very long learning curve. A generalised vehicle ride model has been developed which is capable of being used to simulate various vehicle ride situations. It is particularly suited to parametric studies during the design or selection of vehicle vibration mounts and suspension units. This generalised model has already been implemented in a computer program for specific applications. Further work is being done to produce a general purpose ride simulation software for use in the optimisation of vehicle ride performance. Current investigation includes the development of optimisation schemes to select optimum system parameters. 

New characterisation methods for tyre dynamics

Over the years, the tyre test facilities in the Automotive Engineering Centre have been developed to enable the characterisation of tyre dynamic performance using empirical models. The current research is aimed at developing new characterisation methods for tyre dynamics, using lumped parameter empirical methods which take into account the coupling of radial, longitudinal and lateral modes of the tyre. This will enable the effects of castor and camber on the dynamic characteristics to be evaluated. The work is ongoing and has been sponsored variously by Goodyear Tyres Technical Centre, Luxemburg, Dunlop Tyres (UK) Ltd and Michelin Americas R&D Corp.

Dynamic characteristics of damped panels

A programme of work has been carried out on the characterisation of the performance of structural damping pads and acoustic trim. Currently, the use of damping pads is based on an experimental approach which produces long lead times, is wasteful of resources and often produces only modest gains in structural performance. The experimental techniques that have been developed now make it possible to assess the effectiveness of damping pads and acoustic trim. A study has been initiated to develop analytical tools which would enable the effects of these components to be modelled as well as the use of structurally damped panels of layered construction now being used in constructing vehicle bodies. This work has been supported by Jaguar Cars and some of the damping materials suppliers such as Allied Signal, Henkel and Gurrit Essex.

Simulation of vehicle durability cycles

This project involves a major upgrade of the vehicle simulation facility. The study involves the development of new software tools for the acquisition and analysis of road load data and the development of drive signals for vehicle simulation. Also analysis of vehicle response data in relation to component damage with a view to predicting the durability of components.