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# Suspension Spring Project

Caleb Shunatona
ME 533- Machine Design 1
May 8, 2015

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Caleb Shunatona
When designing a vehicle, the suspension of the car is an important structure to design correctly
to provide a more safe and ergonomic vehicle. The suspension is a combination of a spring and a
damper that provide a separation from the forces caused by the road and the tires from the rest of the
car. A double wishbone, pushrod suspension system is a system used commonly in racing applications
because of its many benefits. The analysis of one of these suspension systems will show how the
different variables of a spring and bellcrank found in this system can affect the safeness of the overall
system and other preferred variable outcomes. A free body diagram of a single seat racing cars left
wheel and suspension system shows the different geometric factors that effect this system.

## Fig. 1. Free Body Diagram of Suspension System

After working out the geometric factors of this system, a complete spring analysis of the spring
can tell you everything needed to create a perfect spring for certain given parameters and wanted
outcome conditions.
For this certain system, the certain nomenclature and initial parameters to create a viable
spring, assuming an ignored dampener and a helical compression spring, can be shown by these tables.
Initial Problem Parameters:
Description
Mass of Car
Mass of Driver
Weight Fraction
Min Wheel Travel
Max A-Arm

Amount
200
80
0.25
1725
50.8
0.5

Units
kg
kg

Gravity

9.81

m/s2

Info

N
mm
m

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Geometric Paramaters:
Description

Symbol

Units

Info

A-Arm Length

La-arm

## Less than 0.5

Pushrod Length
Bell Crank Ratio

Lpushrod
R

Wheel Travel
Spring Bellcrank angle

ywheel

mm
More than 50.8
degrees Must be 43
degrees Must be 50

LB 1

mm

## Bell Crank Length 2

LB 2

mm

ypushrod

mm

Spring Deflection

yspring

mm

## Should be more than Wheel Travel

Description
Spring Material
Spring Rate

Symbol

Units

Info
ASTM A228 or A229

N/mm

## Outer Coil Diameter

Coil Diameter
Wire Diameter
Spring Index

D0
D
d
C

mm
mm
mm

Working Deflection

yworking

mm

Nt

Na

Free Length

Lf

mm

Shut Length

Ls

mm

Ns working

Shear Modulus

Ns shut
G

## Number Active Coils

Na

Initial Deflection

yintial

mm

Assembled Length

La

mm

## Min Working Legth

Lm

mm

Clash Deflection

yclash

mm

Clash Allowance

clash

Spring Parameters:

MPa

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Shut Deflection

yshut

mm

Shut Height

Ls

mm

Sut

MPa

Sys

MPa

Shear Factor

Ks

max

## Shear Stress At Shut Height

Slenderness Ratio
Spring Deflection Ratio

MPa

shut height
MPa
Lf/D
Should be less than 4
y/Lf
Table 1. Parameters and Nomenclature

These initial parameters gives enough information to create all of the forces that will be
effecting the entire system by giving all the masses that will be used to find weight forces that will act on
the system, the weight fraction that will effect each system if there are four equal system used on the
car, the maximum load the system will experience, a minimum on the wheel travel in the system, the
maximum of the A-arms, and an assumed gravity coefficient in SI units.
The first things to analyze in this problem are the geometric conditions and how the system will
transfer forces throughout it. The initial variables to first decide is the certain lengths that will be used
on the bellcrank and A-arm within the system. The bellcrank creates a relation between certain variables
shown by this equation and figure if the bellcrank has an assumed angle of 140.

## Fig.2. Free Body Diagram of Bellcrank in this Suspension System

=

sin()

= = 1cos() =

(1)
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The Force of the pushrod can be assumed to carry the entire force of the tire. The angles and
are given and because of this after the lengths of the bellcrank are decided the bellcrank ratio can be
found. By using geometrical analysis it can be shown that the pushrod length is dependent on the A-arm
length given by:
=

(1 +2 cos(40))
cos()

(2)

The relations shown by equation 1 shows how the forces of the pushrod and the spring are
related to the bellcrank ratio so to begin the spring analysis the forces that will pushrod will experience
will need to be found first. The initial preload forces can be found just by using the weight of the car
without the driver to show the forces the spring will constantly be feeling when its not being used.
The weight can be easily found by using the mass of the car, the gravity constant, and weight
fraction.
= 200 9.81 2 0.25

(3)

The max force the pushrod will feel can be found by using the preload force, the weight of the
= + (80 9.81 2 0.25) + 1725

(4)

Now that the pushrod forces are known the spring forces can be found using the relations found
in equation 1.
=

(5)

Since the spring forces are now found then the spring analysis of the system can begin. The
material chosen to be used in the spring is the A228 Music Wire because of its toughness, uses in small
coil springs, and having the highest tensile strength of spring wire. The only thing to worry about using
this material is that the spring needs to be kept in a temperature range from 0 C to 120 C. The Shear
Modulus of this material has been found to be 80GPa. Multiple variables need to be chosen to start the
analysis including the Wire Diameter, Free Length, Coil Diameter, and the Total number of Coils. Certain
properties of the spring can be found after deciding these variables. The wire diameter for certain wires
are limited to preferred wire diameters shown by this figure.

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## Fig. 3. Preferred Wire Diameters

The number of active coils can be found by using the Total number of Coils and the type of
spring being used, here assumed to be a Square-ground Ends Spring.
= 2

(6)

The spring index can be found by using the coil diameter and the wire diameter. The spring
constant preferred is between 4 and 12.
=

(7)

The outer coil diameter can also be found using the coil diameter and the wire diameter.
0 = + 12

(8)

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The spring rate of this spring can now be found using the wire diameter, the shear modulus, the
coil diameter, and the active springs. The relation of Forces and deflection is also shown.
4

= 83 =

(9)

With all these properties of the spring known and using the forces that will act on the spring the
deflection and lengths of the spring can be found.

## Fig. 4. Various Lengths of a Helical Compression Spring in Use

=

=
=

(10)
(11)

(12)

(13)

(14)

(15)

From this the clash allowance of the spring can be found. This represents the difference
between the minimum working length and the shut height, expressed in a percentage of the working
deflection. A minimum of 10-15% of the clash allowance is recommended.
=

100

(16)

When the shut height is found, there is a force that is required to get the spring to deflect from
free length to shut height. This is the shut height force (or indefinite load) and can be used later to find
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the safety factor of the spring against a maximum force that the spring can experience until clash
happens. After this happens the spring would stop behaving like a spring and can be assumed as a
failure occurring.
=

(17)

(18)

After all this information is known, certain equations can be used to determine the safeness of
the spring based off of the failure points of the spring. The buckling failure of the spring can be tested
using this graph based on certain ratios based on the springs free length to its coil diameter and the
springs deflection to free length.

## Fig. 5. Critical Buckling Condition Curves

By plotting a point on this graph, you can find if the spring is stable or not. Based on the springs
ends, you can test the point against the related curve, above the curve is unstable and below the curve
is stable. For any spring if the ratio of free length to the mean diameter is less than 4 then the spring
can be assumed to be completely stable. The deflection used in testing this spring will be the deflection
from the free length to the minimum working length.
Slenderness Ratio =
Spring Deflection Ratio =

(19)

(20)

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To find the other failure points the different strengths of the spring must be found. The ultimate
tensile strength can be found using this equation and the constants found in the equation by this figure.
= ()

(21)

## Fig. 6. Coefficients and Exponents for Equation 21

After finding the ultimate tensile strength the torsional yield strength can be found using this
equation based off of extensive testing.
= 0.675

(22)

The percentage of the ultimate tensile strength used can be changed if the spring is under the
two conditions of either before set removed or after set removed. For this spring analysis the spring will
be assumed to be after set removed and the lowest percentage will be used.

Fig. 7. Maximum Torsional Yield Strength Sys for Helical Compression Springs in Static Applications
= 0.6

(23)

The shear stress for this spring at the maximum working load and at the shut height can be
found by first finding the direct shear factor and then plugging that into another equation.

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0.5
)

(24)

8
3

(25)

= (1 +
=
=

(26)

After the strengths and the stresses have been found, the factor of safety can be found. For the
spring to be usable the Factor of safety must be at least 1 to not have failure.
=
=

(27)

(28)

If both factors of safety related to the working force and the shut height force show that the
spring will not fail, the geometry of the suspension system can be updated with the differences made by
the spring at the maximum working force. These changes can be shown by these equations.
=
=
=

(29)

(30)

(31)

sin()

All these equations shown can be used to create an excel sheet where you can guess and check
different characteristics of the suspension system using the parameters previously set. Here are multiple
iterations of different inputs that were plugged into an excel sheet. In the first iteration ran, the
geometric variables were chosen first.
Description
A-Arm Length
Bell Crank Length 1
Bell Crank Length 2
Pushrod Bellcrank Angle
Spring Bellcrank Angle
Bell Crank Ratio
Pushrod Length

Amount
0.4
50
100
43
50
0.445142815

Units
m
mm
mm
degrees
degrees

Description
Chosen, less than 0.5
Chosen
Chosen
Given
Given
Should be less than 1, eq(1)

0.373821251
m
eq(2)
Table 2. First Iterations Geometric Variables

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The bellcrank lengths chosen were done so that the bellcrank ratio would be less than 1 to
create a greater spring deflection than wheel travel. Next the different forces that will affect the system
are found.
Description

Amount

Units

Description

490.5
N
eq (3)
218.3425509
N
eq (5)
Table 3. First Iterations Preload Forces

Description

Amount

Units

Description

2411.7

eq (4)

## Spring Max Force

1073.550928
N
Table 4. First Iterations Max Forces

eq (5)

After that, some spring characteristics were chosen while the rest were found.
Description

Amount

Units

Description

Material
Wire Diameter
Free Length

A228
3.3
200

mm
mm

Coil Diameter

26.4

mm

11

## Number of Active Coils

Spring Index
Shear Modulus

8
80000

MPa

Music Wire
Chosen From average in Fig. 3
Chosen less than 250mm
Chosen to acquire spring index
of 8
Chosen to make cash
allowance above 10
Assuming square end spring,
eq (6)
Must be between 4 and 12, eq
(7)
Found for A228

28.05

mm

## Less than 125mm, eq(8)

Spring Rate

7.161458333

N/mm

eq (9)

Initial Deflection

30.48855983

mm

eq (10)

Assembled Length

169.5114402

mm

eq (11)

Working Deflection

119.4181879

mm

eq (12)

## Min Working Length

50.09325229

mm

eq (13)

Shut Length
Clash Deflection

36.3
13.79325229

mm
mm

eq (14)
eq (15)

Clash Allowance

11.55037816

eq (16)

Shut Deflection

163.7

mm

eq (17)
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Slenderness Ratio

7.575757576

0.749533739

eq (20)

1172.330729

eq (18)

1471.269305

MPa

eq (19)

## Torsional Yield Strength

882.7615832

MPa

eq (23)

Shear Factor
Shear Stress at Max Working
Factor of Safety at Max Working

1.0625

2330.14

## Factor of Safety at Shut Height

2133.800496

eq (24)
MPa

eq (25)
Must be greater or equal to 1,
eq (27)

MPa

eq (26)
Must be greater or equal to 1,
eq (28)

0.413703898

0.38
Table 5. First Iterations Spring Variables

It can be seen from these initial inputs that this spring fails from buckling and from shear
stresses at the working load and shut height.
A new iteration was done to see what the spring would look like at maximum possible inputs.
Description

Amount

Units

Description

Material
Wire Diameter
Free Length

A228
6.5
250

mm
mm

Coil Diameter

75

mm

## Number of Active Coils

Spring Index
Shear Modulus

11.53846154
80000

MPa

Music Wire
Chosen from maximum
Chosen less than 250mm
Chosen to acquire spring index
maximum
Chosen to make cash
allowance above 10
Assuming square end spring,
eq (6)
Must be between 4 and 12, eq
(7)
Found for A228

78.25

mm

## Less than 125mm, eq(8)

Spring Rate

7.052098765

N/mm

eq (9)

Initial Deflection

30.96135748

mm

eq (10)

Assembled Length

219.0386425

mm

eq (11)

Working Deflection

121.270051

mm

eq (12)

## Min Working Length

97.76859155

mm

eq (13)

Shut Length

52

mm

eq (14)
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Clash Deflection

45.76859155

mm

eq (15)

Clash Allowance

37.74105081

eq (16)

Shut Deflection

198

mm

eq (17)

Slenderness Ratio

3.333333333

0.608925634

eq (20)

1396.315556

eq (18)

1299.357811

MPa

eq (19)

## Torsional Yield Strength

779.6146864

MPa

eq (23)

Shear Factor
Shear Stress at Max Working
Factor of Safety at Max Working

1.043333333

## Shear Stress at Shut Height

1013.14

778.9454451

eq (24)
MPa

1.000859163

eq (25)
Must be greater or equal to 1,
eq (27)

MPa

eq (26)
Must be greater or equal to 1,
Factor of Safety at Shut Height
0.77
eq (28)
Table 6. Second Iterations Spring Variables
This iteration seemed to be better because it didnt fail from buckling, or the stress from the
max working load but it did fail the stress from the shut height. Another iteration was done changing
geometric variables to try and create less force being transferred into the spring from a smaller Bell
Crank Ratio.
Description
A-Arm Length
Bell Crank Length 1
Bell Crank Length 2
Pushrod Bellcrank Angle
Spring Bellcrank Angle
Bell Crank Ratio
Pushrod Length

Description

Amount
0.4
30
80
43
50
0.333857

Units
m
mm
mm
degrees
degrees

Description
Chosen less than 0.5
Chosen
Chosen
Given
Given
Should be less than 1, eq (1)

0.422116
m
eq (2)
Table 7. Third Iterations Geometric Variables
Amount
Units
Description
490.5
N
eq (3)
163.75691
N
eq (5)
Table 7. Third Iterations Preload Forces

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Description
Pushrod Max Force
Spring Max Force

Amount
Units
Description
2411.7
N
eq (4)
805.1632
N
eq (5)
Table 8. Third Iterations Max Forces

Using the already known variables, a spring was created using guess and check to create a spring
that would pass all the parameters and failure tests.
Description
Material
Wire Diameter
Free Length
Coil Diameter

Amount
A228
6
220
56

13

## Number of Active Coils

11

Spring Index
Shear Modulus
Outer Coil Diameter
Spring Rate
Initial Deflection
Assembled Length
Working Deflection
Min Working Length
Shut Length
Clash Deflection
Clash Allowance
Shut Deflection
Slenderness Ratio
Spring Deflection Ratio
Shut Height Force
Ultimate Tensile Strength
Torsional Yield Strength
Shear Factor
Shear Stress at Max Working
Factor of Safety at Max Working
Shear Stress at Shut Height

9.3333333
80000
59
6.7088524
24.40908
195.59092
95.605962
99.984959
78
21.984959
22.995385
142
3.9285714
0.5455229
952.65704
1318.5623
791.13738
1.0535714

Units
mm
mm
mm

MPa
mm
N/mm
mm
mm
mm
mm
mm
mm
%
mm

N
MPa
MPa

560.04418

MPa

1.4126339
662.64

MPa

Description
Music Wire
Chosen
Chosen less than 250mm
Chosen
Chosen to make cash
allowance above 10
Assuming square end spring,
eq (6)
Must be between 4 and 12, eq
(7)
Found for A228
Less than 125mm, eq(8)
eq (9)
eq (10)
eq (11)
eq (12)
eq (13)
eq (14)
eq (15)
eq (16)
eq (17)
Should be less than 4, eq (19)
eq (20)
eq (18)
eq (19)
eq (23)
eq (24)
eq (25)
Must be greater or equal to 1,
eq (27)
eq (26)

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Caleb Shunatona
Must be greater or equal to 1,
Factor of Safety at Shut Height
1.19
eq (28)
Table 9. Third Iterations Spring Variables
Since this spring wont fail then the final geometry of the suspension system can be found.
Description
Spring Deflection
Pushrod Deflection
Wheel Travel

Amount

Units

Description
Should be more than Wheel
142
mm
Travel, eq (29)
47.40771
mm
eq (30)
Must be more than 50.8mm,
69.512938
mm
eq (31)
Table 10. Third Iterations Final Geometric Variables

This table shows that the spring deflection is greater than the wheel travel and that the wheel
travel is greater than the parameter.
It can be shown that using this method of system analysis that a viable spring can be created
and possibly optimized. The spring created by doing three iterations of the excel worksheet created is a
spring that passes every test to be a good spring to use in this system. The method of guess and check
lets you see and better understand how every different variable you individually change effects the
variables effected by it.

## bellcrank angle of 140

the Force of the pushrod carries the entire force of the tire

## clash causes failure

if the ratio of free length to the mean diameter is less than 4 then the spring is be completely
stable

the spring will be after set removed and the lowest percentage used from Fig. 7

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Caleb Shunatona

Appendix
Cover Page Picture:
http://eibach.com/sites/devindustrialsprings.eibach.com/files/pictures/eibach_praezisionsfedern_1024x768.jpg
Fig. 1, Fig. 2:
Project Assignment Sheet
Fig. 3, Fig. 4, Fig. 5, Fig. 6, Fig. 7:
Chapter 14 PowerPoint
All tables created in Excel using:
Geometric:
Description
A-Arm Length
Bell Crank Length 1
Bell Crank Length 2
Pushrod Bellcrank Angle
Spring Bellcrank Angle
Bell Crank Ratio
Pushrod Length

Amount
43
50
=C72*SIN(C74/360*2*PI())/(C73*SIN(C75/360*2*PI()))
=(C71-0.001*(C72+C73*COS(40/360*2*PI())))/COS(C74/360*2*PI())

Units
m
mm
mm
degrees
degrees

Amount
=\$C\$5*\$C\$11*\$C\$7
=C81*C76

Units
N
N

Amount
=\$C\$8+\$C\$6*\$C\$11*\$C\$7+C81
=C86*C76

Units
N
N

Amount
-

Units

Description

Max Forces:
Description
Pushrod Max Force
Spring Max Force

Spring:
Description
Material
Wire Diameter
Free Length
Coil Diameter

mm
mm
mm
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Caleb Shunatona
Total Number of Coils
Number of Active Coils
Spring Index
Shear Modulus
Outer Coil Diameter
Spring Rate
Initial Deflection
Assembled Length
Working Deflection
Min Working Length
Shut Length
Clash Deflection
Clash Allowance
Shut Deflection
Slenderness Ratio
Spring Deflection Ratio
Shut Height Force
Ultimate Tensile Strength
Torsional Yield Strength
Shear Factor
Shear Stress at Max
Factor of Safety at Max
Shear Stress at Shut
Height
Factor of Safety at Shut
Height

=C95-2
=C94/C92
=C97*C92+0.5*C92
=C92^4*C98/(8*C94^3*C96)
=C82/C100
=C93-C101
=C87/C100-C101
=C93-C101-C103
=C92*C95
=C104-C105
=C106/C103*100
=C93-C105
=C93/C94
=(C103+C101)/C93
=C100*C108
=1831.2*C92^(-0.1833)
=0.6*C112
=1+0.5/C97
=C114*8*C87*C94/(PI()*C92^3)

MPa
mm
N/mm
mm
mm
mm
mm
mm
mm
%
mm

N
MPa
MPa

MPa

=C113/C115
=C114*8*C111*C94/(PI()*C92^3)

MPa

=C113/C117

## Geometric After Spring:

Description
Spring Deflection
Pushrod Deflection
Wheel Travel

Amount
=C93-C105
=C76*C122
=C123/SIN(C74/360*2*PI())

Units
mm
mm
mm

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