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Prabu et al. 2012. Int. J.

Vehicle Structures & Systems, 4(2), 43-47

ISSN: 0975-3060 (Print), 0975-3540 (Online)
Inter nati onal Jour nal of
doi: 10.4273/ijvss.4.2.02 Vehicle Structures & Systems
© 2012. MechAero Foundation for Technical Research & Education Excellence Available online at

Performance of Electromagnetic based Suspension System for Automobiles

K. Prabua and J. Janciranib
Department of Automobile Engineering,
M.I.T Campus, Anna University, Chennai-44, India.
Corresponding Author, Email:

This paper is concerned with studying the response of a hybrid magnetic vehicle suspension system. The objective of
this work is to produce vehicle body isolation by reducing the sprung mass acceleration and minimize the suspension
travel, to produce good road holding ability. Two degrees of freedom quarter car model of a passive suspension system
with a cylindrical type hybrid magnet is considered for the analysis. Analytical modelling, simulations and laboratory
scale experiments are conducted. The performance of active suspension systems from simulations using MATLAB and
experiments are compared with the passive suspension system. The amplitude of vibration of the sprung mass using
active suspension is considerably reduced from that of passive system.

Vehicle suspension system; Hybrid magnet; System dynamics; Proportional integral controller

K. Prabu and J. Jancirani. 2012. Performance of Electromagnetic based Suspension System for Automobiles, Int. J.
Vehicle Structures & Systems, 4(2), 43-47. doi:10.4273/ijvss.4.2.02

ACRONYMS AND NOMENCLATURE: is verified that these solutions cannot solve the vehicle’s
oscillation problems satisfactorily. They are expensive
Ms Sprung mass
Mu Unsprung mass and contribute to the increase in energy consumption.
Xr Road profile Several authors have proposed other kinds of
Fa Actuator force electromagnetic system for automobile suspension based
X1 Axle displacement on rotational actuator [3] [4]. However the use of
X2 Body displacement rotational actuator requires a gearbox to convert the
Kt Tyre radial stiffness rotation into a linear movement and increase the force
Ks Suspension spring stiffness value. Linear actuators do not require any kind of
Kx Position stiffness gearbox. The first automobile suspension using linear
Ki Coil stiffness
actuators were proposed in [6] [7]. Currently there are
Ff Frictional force
PM Permanent magnet three type of vehicle suspensions namely passive, semi
EM Electromagnet active and active systems are used.
This analysis is carried out to find the possibility of
implementing a vehicle suspension system using
1. Introduction
electromagnetic actuators, in order to improve the
The new generation of power train and propulsion performance of the suspension system without increasing
systems for modern vehicles poses significant challenges the energy consumption and cost [8]. This study presents
to vehicle suspension system design. A vehicle a novel approach to the problem of active suspension
suspension system isolates a vehicle body from road using levitation principle. In this approach zero power
irregularities in order to increase the passenger ride control has been used to enhance the power saving. Both
comfort and maximize the friction between the tyre and the permanent magnet and electromagnet are acting as a
road surface to provide steering stability with good magnetic springs in parallel with the passive suspension
handling [1] [2]. However, the development of new- system.
generation vehicle suspension systems necessitates
advanced suspension components, such as springs and
dampers. The goal of this research is to conduct a
2. System model configuration
feasibility study of the development of an automotive Most important part of suspension system design is to
suspension system using electromagnetic actuator. develop and use appropriate mathematical model, which
Automotive suspension designs have been a compromise is later validated during experiments. A quarter car
between the conflicting factor of passenger comfort, vehicle suspension model is used. The suspension
suspension travel and road holding [5]. system consists of a spring and a damper connected
All the systems implemented in automobiles are between the sprung and unsprung masses as shown in
based on hydraulic or pneumatic operation. However it Fig. 1. Bottom spring represents the characteristics of the
Prabu et al. 2012. Int. J. Vehicle Structures & Systems, 4(2), 43-47

car tyre. Therefore, the damping characteristics of the 3. Results and discussions
system can be changed dynamically during driving.
In this study theoretical and experimental analyses of
steady state response of conventional suspension system
with and without magnetic actuator is carried out.
3.1. Simulation
The simulation of the quarter car suspension model was
performed using the road disturbance input as shown in
Fig. 2. The parameters of two degrees of freedom quarter
car model taken for the simulation are given in Table 1.
The frequency response curve is obtained from
MATLAB simulation.

Fig. 1: Quarter car suspension model

Sprung mass (Ms) represents a portion of the total

body mass. Unsprung mass (Mu) represents mass of a
wheel. The assumption is that the mass (Mu) carried by
each wheel corresponds to the static weight which would
be supported by it. The road input (Xr) is assumed to be
random. The constant external force (Fa) acts on the
body mass upwards. The axle and body displacements
are represented as X1 and X2 respectively. Kt and Ks
represent tyre radial and suspension spring stiffness’s
respectively. The equations of motion for single wheel
suspension system are given by:
  C X  X   K  X  X   F  0
Ms X (1)
1 1 2 s 1 2 a

 
M u X 2  C X 1  X 2  K s  X 2  X 1   K u  X 2  X r   Fa  F f  0 (2) Fig. 2: Road disturbance input
Table 1: Parameters of a quarter car model
Where Fa is the actuator force produced by the hybrid
magnet. Ff represents frictional force. When we change Parameter Unit Value
the coil current in the electromagnet, the actuator force Sprung mass Ms kg 18.2
will vary accordingly. The external force is obtained by Unsprung mass Mu kg 7.25
attaching a magnetic actuator to the system. Eqn. (1) is Suspension stiffness Ks N/m 1570
re-written as: Radial stiffness Kt N/m 4850

s 1  1 2 
M X  C X  X  K  X  X   K  Ks 1 2 (3) x i The acceleration of sprung mass under the
Where Kx represents position stiffness and Ki represents conditions of using passive and active suspension
the coil stiffness. To maintain a 24mm air gap between systems is shown in Fig. 3. The body acceleration of
the permanent magnet and electromagnet, the bias active suspension system is considerably reduced from
current of the coil is set to 0.8A. The characteristics of that of passive system. The spring stiffness value is
electromagnetic system depend on the input current varied as 785 N/m, 1178 N/m and 1570 N/m. The
frequency. The friction force of an electromagnetic acceleration of sprung mass is shown in Fig. 4. Increase
actuator can be neglected. So the dynamic equation in spring stiffness of active system has shown an
becomes: increase in the acceleration of sprung mass.
M X    K  X  X   F (4)
s 1 s 1 2 a1
  K  X  X   K  X  X   F
Mu X 2 s 1 2 u 2 r a1
The control system consists of many component
connected to perform the desired function. The control
system is used to control the vertical acceleration and
relative displacement of the sprung and unsprung
masses. The acceleration is measured by accelerometers.
The proportional integral controller offers good stability
and a low steady state error [9]. The equation for the
controller is given by:
Ea  K pe  K t  edt
Fig. 3: Sprung mass acceleration - Active vs. Passive system
Prabu et al. 2012. Int. J. Vehicle Structures & Systems, 4(2), 43-47

3.2. Experimental analysis

A laboratory scale two degrees of freedom (DoF) quarter
car model as shown in Fig. 5 has been developed. In this
system the passive suspension model spring and the
damper placed parallel to each other. The hybrid
magnetic actuator is placed in between the vehicle body
(sprung mass) and wheel supporting structure (unsprung
mass). Linear bearing and stainless steel rods are used to
guide the vertical movement of the mass plates.
Electromagnet is fixed on the unsprung mass plate.
Permanent magnet is mounted on the sprung mass plate.
An air gap of 24mm is provided to get a maximum
magnetic force of 250N. Two degrees of freedom quarter
car model with hybrid magnet is to be tested
experimentally in frequency/time domains for
verification of the derived simulation model. The
performance of the active system is compared with the
Fig. 4: Sprung mass acceleration for variation in spring stiffness passive suspension system as shown in Figs. 6-11.

Permanent magnet

Linear bearing

Fig. 5: Experimental setup of 2 DoF car model

Fig. 6: Car body displacement for passive suspension system Fig. 7: Car body displacement for active suspension system

Prabu et al. 2012. Int. J. Vehicle Structures & Systems, 4(2), 43-47

Reduction in peak values of sprung mass

acceleration is listed in Table 2. The amplitude of
vibration of the sprung mass of the vehicle is
considerably reduced under the action of magnetic
damper. The proposed hybrid magnet system shows the
effectiveness of suspension and vibration reduction
under various conditions.
Table 2: Reduction in peak values of sprung mass acceleration

Amplitude Sprung mass acceleration(m/s) % of

(mm) Passive(10 kg) Active (20 kg) reduction
20 0.02 0.0125 37.50%
40 0.0315 0.014 61.70%
60 0.0157 0.006 55.50%
Fig. 8: Car body acceleration for passive system
4. Conclusion
In this paper, a mathematical modelling of suspension
system, magnetic actuator, power amplifier and springs
are developed. A laboratory scale quarter car suspension
is designed and tested. The results of theoretical
simulations using MATLAB are compared with the
experimental results. It can be concluded that the
magnetic actuator for active suspension system gave a
good sprung mass isolation, reduced rattle space
frequency and good road holding ability when compared
with conventional passive suspension system. One of the
remaining problems for application of the proposed
active suspension system to a real vehicle is the
preparation of adequate power supply. If the vehicle uses
electrical power source such as a fuel cell or condensed
Fig. 9: Comparison of car suspension travel
battery, the hybrid magnet system could be considered
as a good vibration suppression system.

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Prabu et al. 2012. Int. J. Vehicle Structures & Systems, 4(2), 43-47

active suspension, IEEE Region 10 Conf. Computer EDITORIAL NOTES:

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