Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Hiroyuki Sugiyama

First Committee Member

Kyung K Choi

Second Committee Member

Paramsothy Jayakumar

Third Committee Member

Jia Lu

Fourth Committee Member

Shaoping Xiao


The objective of this study is to develop a high-fidelity physics-based flexible tire model that can be fully integrated into multibody dynamics computer algorithms for use in on-road and off-road vehicle dynamics simulation without ad-hoc co-simulation techniques. Despite the fact detailed finite element tire models using explicit finite element software have been widely utilized for structural design of tires by tire manufactures, it is recognized in the tire industry that existing state-of-the-art explicit finite element tire models are not capable of predicting the transient tire force characteristics accurately under severe vehicle maneuvering conditions due to the numerical instability that is essentially inevitable for explicit finite element procedures for severe loading scenarios and the lack of transient (dynamic) tire friction model suited for FE tire models. Furthermore, to integrate the deformable tire models into multibody full vehicle simulation, co-simulation technique could be an option for commercial software. However, there exist various challenges in co-simulation for the transient vehicle maneuvering simulation in terms of numerical stability and computational efficiency. The transient tire dynamics involves rapid changes in contact forces due to the abrupt braking and steering input, thus use of co-simulation requires very small step size to ensure the numerical stability and energy balance between two separate simulation using different solvers.

In order to address these essential and challenging issues on the high-fidelity flexible tire model suited for multibody vehicle dynamics simulation, a physics-based tire model using the flexible multibody dynamics approach is proposed in this study. To this end, a continuum mechanics based shear deformable laminated composite shell element is developed based on the finite element absolute nodal coordinate formulation for modeling the complex fiber reinforced rubber tire structure. The assumed natural strain (ANS) and enhanced assumed strain (EAS) approaches are introduced for alleviating element lockings exhibited in the element. Use of the concept of the absolute nodal coordinate formulation leads to various advantages for tire dynamics simulation in that (1) constant mass matrix can be obtained for fully nonlinear dynamics simulation; (2) exact modeling of rigid body motion is ensured when strains are zero; and (3) non-incremental solution procedure utilized in the general multibody dynamics computer algorithm can be directly applied without specialized updating schemes for finite rotations. Using the proposed shear deformable laminated composite shell element, a physics-based flexible tire model is developed. To account for the transient tire friction characteristics including the friction-induced hysteresis that appears in severe maneuvering conditions, the distributed parameter LuGre tire friction model is integrated into the flexible tire model. To this end, the contact patch predicted by the structural tire model is discretized into small strips across the tire width, and then each strip is further discretized into small elements to convert the partial differential equations of the LuGre tire friction model to the set of first-order ordinary differential equations. By doing so, the structural deformation of the flexible tire model and the LuGre tire friction force model are dynamically coupled in the final form of the equations, and these equations are integrated simultaneously forward in time at every time step.

Furthermore, a systematic and automated procedure for parameter identification of LuGre tire friction model is developed. Since several fitting parameters are introduced to account for the nonlinear friction characteristics, the correlation of the model parameters with physical quantities are not clear, making the parameter identification of the LuGre tire friction model difficult. In the procedure developed in this study, friction parameters in terms of slip-dependent friction characteristics and adhesion parameter are estimated separately, and then all the parameters are identified using the nonlinear least squares fitting. Furthermore, the modified friction characteristic curve function is proposed for wet road conditions, in which the linear decay in friction is exhibited in the large slip velocity range. It is shown that use of the proposed numerical procedure leads to an accurate prediction of the LuGre model parameters for measured tire force characteristics under various loading and speed conditions. Furthermore, the fundamental tire properties including the load-deflection curve, the contact patch lengths, contact pressure distributions, and natural frequencies are validated against the test data. Several numerical examples for hard braking and cornering simulation are presented to demonstrate capabilities of the physics-based flexible tire model developed in this study.

Finally, the physics-based flexible tire model is further extended for application to off-road mobility simulation. To this end, a locking-free 9-node brick element with the curvature coordinates at the center node is developed and justified for use in modeling a continuum soil with the capped Drucker-Prager failure criterion. Multiplicative finite strain plasticity theory is utilized to consider the large soil deformation exhibited in the tire/soil interaction simulation. In order to identify soil parameters including cohesion and friction angle, the triaxial soil test is conducted. Using the soil parameters identified including the plastic hardening parameters by the compression soil test, the continuum soil model developed is validated against the test data. Use of the high-fidelity physics-based tire/soil simulation model in off-road mobility simulation, however, leads to a very large computational model to consider a wide area of terrains. Thus, the computational cost dramatically increases as the size of the soil model increases. To address this issue, the component soil model is proposed such that soil elements far behind the tire can be removed from the equations of motion sequentially, and then new soil elements are added to the portion that the tire is heading to. That is, the soil behavior only in the vicinity of the rolling tire is solved in order to reduce the overall model dimensionality associated with the finite element soil model. It is shown that use of the component soil model leads to a significant reduction in computational time while ensuring the accuracy, making the use of the physics-based deformable tire/soil simulation capability feasible in off-road mobility simulation.


Absolute Nodal Coordinate Formulation, Flexible Multibody Dynamics, LuGre tire friction model, Off Road Mobility Simulation, Tire Dynamics Simulation


xiv, 159 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 153-159).


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Copyright © 2016 Hiroki Yamashita