Cambridge Researcher Develops E-Spring Suspension
Cambridge University PhD researcher Salah Elmonselhy, from the University’s Department of Engineering, has proposed a kind of E-shaped suspension design. The new form of suspension promises to “revolutionise the experience of people who drive heavy goods vehicles” enhancing driver control, improve comfort and increase safety. It is also said to reduce fuel consumption and cut the cost of fitting specialist equipment to vehicles so that they can cope with different loads.
At the moment, commercial and heavy good vehicles need to have their suspension fine-tuned in accordance with the load they are carrying, so that drivers can control them. For example, a vehicle with soft suspension is suitable for light loads, but becomes difficult to control if it has to carry extra weight. On the other hand, giving a vehicle hard suspension can make it easy to handle with a heavy load, but the driver and passengers will be in for a bumpy ride once the load is removed.
The new system uses springs that are placed opposite to one another, but can work together when needed. The first operates under light loads, while the second is more tightly set, so that it provides greater stiffness only when the weight of the vehicle’s load is heavier. As a result, the vehicle’s suspension adjusts itself, according to the vehicle’s needs.
“Suspension is an ongoing problem for commercial and heavy goods drivers as it can’t always be tuned to a level that balances control, comfort and safety,” Salah said. “This innovation will give drivers more control over their vehicles whatever the weight the suspension has to bear. The good news is that no extra tuning will be required due to the E-shape.”
A video of the new suspension system in action can be viewed at: http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/news/stories/2008/e_spring/animation_03.avi