Kinematics of a smart variable caster mechanism for a vehicle steerable wheel

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Vehicle System Dynamics, 2012, 50 (12), pp. 1861 - 1875
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The lateral force of a tyre is a function of the sideslip and camber angles. The camber angle can provide a significant effect on the stability of a vehicle by increasing or adjusting the required lateral force to keep the vehicle on the road. To control the camber angle and hence, the lateral force of each tyre, we can use the caster angle of the wheel. We introduce a possible variable and controllable caster angle in order to adjust the camber angle when the sideslip angle cannot be changed. As long as the left and right wheels are steering together according to a kinematic condition, such as Ackerman, the sideslip angle of the inner wheel cannot be increased independently to alter the reduced lateral force because of weight transfer and reduction of the normal load F z A variable caster mechanism can adjust the caster angle of the wheels to achieve their top capacity and maximise the lateral force, when needed. Such a system would potentially increase the safety, stability, and maneuverability of the vehicles. Using the screw theory, this paper will examine the kinematics of a variable caster and present the required mathematical equation to calculate the camber angle as a function of suspension mechanism parameters and other relevant variables. Having a steered wheel about a tilted steering axis will change the position and orientation of the wheel with respect to the body of the car. This paper provides the required kinematics of such a suspension and extracts the equations in special practical situations. The analysis is for an ideal situation in which we substitute the tyre with its equivalent disc at the tyre plane. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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