Modeling & Simulation, Testing & Validation (MSTV)

Benefits of Semi-Active Damping in Up-Armored Vehicles for Ride, Handling, and Rollover Prevention

by Stephen Hildebrand; Donald Margolis; Abraham Mathew; Michael Mattson


The need for up-armored vehicles has increased over the years. This has put a greater emphasis on suspensions that can provide improved ride and handling capabilities while facing the additional weight. One of the challenges with these vehicles traditionally has been increased likelihood of rollover. Increased rollover is due to high center of gravity, kinematics of the overloaded suspension, and the low damping that is needed to satisfy 6-Watt ride speed performance criteria. The Lord magneto-rheological (MR) suspension system addresses these issues by improving the ride quality and handling characteristics thereby increasing safety and mission effectiveness. During handling maneuvers, algorithms inside the controller unit apply corrective forces to minimize peak roll angle and peak roll rate. The benefit of this has been tested on a vehicle comparing the stock passive dampers to the MR dampers over NATO Lane change events. Furthermore, the controller has the capability to continuously calculate the propensity of a rollover event. This can provide an audible alarm to the driver allowing the driver to learn the boundaries of safe handling for the vehicle.