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Definition of Design, Analysis, Fabrication And Testing Of A Composite Leaf Spring

In order to conserve natural resources and economize energy, weight reduction has been the main focus of automobile manufacturers in the present scenario. Weight reduction can be achieved primarily by the introduction of better material, design optimization and better manufacturing processes. The suspension leaf spring is one of the potential items for weight reduction in automobiles as it accounts for 10% - 20% of the unsprung weight. This achieves the vehicle with more fuel efficiency and improved riding qualities.

The introduction of composite materials was made it possible to reduce the weight of leaf spring without any reduction on load carrying capacity and stiffness. Since, the composite materials have more elastic strain energy storage capacity and high strength to weight ratio as compared with those of steel, multi-leaf steel springs are being replaced by mono-leaf composite springs. The composite material offer opportunities for substantial weight saving but not always be cost-effective over their steel counterparts.

Literature Review

Investigation of composite leaf spring in the early 60's failed to yield the production facility because of inconsistent fatigue performance and absence of strong need for mass reduction. Researches in the area of automobile components have been receiving considerable attention now. Particularly the automobile manufacturers and parts makers have been attempting to reduce the weight of the vehicles in recent years. Emphasis of vehicles weight reduction in 1978 justified taking a new look at composite springs. Studies are made to demonstrate viability and potential of FRP in automotive structural application.

The development of a liteflex suspension leaf spring is first achieved. Based on consideration of chipping resistance base part resistance and fatigue resistance, a carbon glass fiber hybrid laminated spring is constructed. A general discussion on analysis and design of constant width, variable thickness, composite leaf spring is presented. The fundamental characteristics of the double tapered FRP beam are evaluated for leaf spring application. Recent developments have been achieved in the field of materials improvement and quality assured for composite leaf springs based on microstructure mechanism. All these literature report that the cost of composite; leaf spring is higher than that of steel leaf spring. Hence an attempt has been made to fabricate the composite leaf spring with the same cost as that of steel leaf spring.

Material properties and design of composite structures are reported in many literatures. Very little information are available in connection with finite element analysis of leaf spring in the literature, than too in 2D analysis of leaf spring. At the same time, the literature available regarding experimental stress analysis more. The experimental procedures are described in national and international standards. Recent emphasis on mass reduction and developments in materials synthesis and processing technology has led to proven production -worthy vehicle equipment.

Materials Selection

Materials constitute nearly 60%-70% of the vehicle cost and contribute to the quality and the performance of the vehicle. Even a small amount in weight reduction of the vehicle, may have a wider economic impact. Composite materials are proved as suitable substitutes for steel in connection with weight reduction of the vehicle. Hence, the composite material have been selected for leaf spring design.