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The Use of Pneumatic Active Suspensions To Improve Lateral Rail Vehicle Ride Quality

Report Number: DOT/OST/P-34/85/020
Author: Hedrick, J. K.
Author: Cho, D.
Author: Barletta, R.
Author: Chen, L. C.
Corporate Author: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Laboratory: University Research Program
Date of Publication: 1984-08-01
Pages: 148
Contract: DTRS5680-C-00018
PB Number: PB226884

This report summarizes the completed during the final phase of three year project. The goal of the project was to develop improved suspension concepts for high speed ground vehicles, in particular in those application where restricted operating envelopes limit the improvements that can be made by conventional means. The application area chosen for this project was the lateral ride quality of intercity passenger trains. The first year's work concentrated in three areas: 1) ride quality field tests conducted with AMTRAK 2) improved ride quality by linear passive alternatives and 3) potential performance improvements by active suspensions. The second year's work also concentrated on three areas: 1) improved lateral ride quality by nonlinear passive suspensions 2) the design of a pneumatic active suspension system and 3) the design of a laboratory apparatus to evaluate the proposed pneumatic system. The third and final phase concentrated on analyzing and testing pneumatic system components including the choice of actuator type and controller software and hardware implementation. The results show that a pneumatic cylinder combined with an on-off solenoid pneumatic valve can yield a predicted 50% reduction in r.m.s acceleration while requiring approximately 9 - 14 H.P./car. The study also showed that the peak acceleration on random track are reduced, as would be expected, by 50% while the peak accelerations due to sudden discontinuities were reduced by 20-30%.

S. Kumar
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