Smart suspension systems for bridge-friendly vehicles

Yonghong Chen, C. A. Tan, L. A. Bergman, T. C. Tsao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, the effects of using semi-active control strategy (such as MR dampers) in vehicle suspensions on the coupled vibrations of a vehicle traversing a bridge are examined in order to develop various designs of smart suspension systems for bridge-friendly vehicles. The bridge-vehicle coupled system is modeled as a simply supported beam traversed by a two-degree-of-freedom quarter-car model. The surface unevenness on the bridge deck is modeled as a deterministic profile of a sinusoidal wave. As the vehicle travels along the bridge, the system is excited as a result of the surface unevenness and this excitation is characterized by a frequency defined by the speed of travel and the wavelength of the profile. The dynamic interactions between the bridge and the vehicle due to surface deck irregularities are obtained by solving the coupled equations of motion. Numerical results of a passive control strategy show that, when the lower natural frequency of the vehicle matches with a natural frequency (usually the first frequency) of the bridge and the excitation frequency, the maximum response of the bridge is large while the response of the vehicle is relatively smaller, meaning that the bridge behaves like a vibration absorber. This is undesirable from a bridge design viewpoint. Comparative studies of passive and semi-active controls for the vehicle suspension are performed. It is demonstrated that skyhook control can significantly mitigate the response of the bridge, while ground-hook control reduces the tire force impacted onto the bridge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bridge friendliness
  • Deck irregularities
  • Dynamic interaction
  • Magnetorheological (MR) damper
  • Semi-active control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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