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ROAD VIBRATION SIMULATION EXPERIMENT: FINAL Report3.pdf · PDF fileroad vibration simulation experiment: final report design and development of a road vibration simulator for the

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    DECEMBER 15, 2003

    M I A M I U N I V E R S I T Y S C H O O L O F E N G I N E E R I N G A N D A P P L I E D S C I E N C E

    D E P A R T M E N T O F M A N U F A C T U R I N G A N D M E C H A N I C A L E N G I N E E R I N G

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    Road Vibrations Simulation EGR 448 SENIOR DESIGN FINAL REPORT


    The Road Vibration Simulation Teams task is to design and develop a road vibration

    simulator for the Vibration Laboratory at Miami University. This will test the vibration

    response to various potential road conditions of a component of an automobile or an entire

    automobile scaled down to 1/5 the size. The simulator must be able to generate input and

    then measure the response of the specimen being analyzed. The vibration simulator will be

    used primarily for educational purposes and three lab experiments will be developed to

    coincide with the simulator. The final product will be posted to the internet so other smaller

    schools can mimic the design created by the team here at Miami University. The design of

    the vibration simulator includes many components. The simulator will be suitable for use

    with a scale model of an entire car as well as individual car components. The sensors used

    will be force and accelerometers. The actuator will be an electrodynamic shaker and the data

    acquisition/analysis package used will be Matlab. The design team is closely following a

    Gantt Chart written at the beginning of the project to stay on task. This vibration simulator

    will be finished by mid-April of 2004. It will then be tested by EGR 315 students. Based on

    their feedback and time remaining, changes will be made accordingly to improve the

    experiments written for the simulator.

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    1. Executive Summary 2

    2. Introduction and Background 4

    3. Research 8

    4. Proposals 34

    5. Conclusions and Future Work 50

    6. References 53

    7. About the Team 54

    8. Appendix 55+

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    Road vibrations simulators are very important in the automotive industry. Before

    assembling any vehicles, the parts must be analyzed in order to determine their reaction to

    road vibrations. Once constructed, the entire vehicle is often analyzed to determine

    response to vibrations as well. There are many safety reasons and comfort factors to be

    considered in road vibrations analysis. While there are theoretical ways to roughly estimate

    the response these components will have to road vibrations, it is necessary to experimentally

    measure the actual responses to get accurate information. This simulator should be able to

    measure the responses as accurately as possible, and it should give students an intuitive,

    hands-on experiment in which to learn about these vibrations.


    Problem definition is a critical step in engineering design. The problem statement

    should include, objectives and goals, the current state of affairs and the desired state, any

    constraints placed on solution of the problem, and the definition of any special technical

    terms [Dieter, 10]. The vibrations design team identified an overall objective, several

    important constraints and some general tasks within their problem definition.


    To design and implement a versatile device and corresponding classroom experiments

    for use in the Miami University Vibration Laboratory to simulate road vibrations felt by

    vehicles during normal operation.

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    The constraints of the project include physical laboratory space, time, and funds. Kreger

    is currently the home for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Room 201 is used

    as not only a classroom, but also as a laboratory for many engineering classes. Because of

    this, the design team feels lack of space is a constraint. In initial meetings it was determined

    that the space available for building, storing and running the experimental setup could only

    be the size of a tabletop. The next constraint identified is limited time. EGR 448 and 449 is

    a two semester series in which research and design should be completed within the first

    semester, leaving the second for building and implementing the projects. With only a school

    year, about 8 months, the design team must consider time throughout many aspects of the

    project. Finally, taking on such a large project requires large funds. The design team has

    identified funding as an important constraint limiting many aspects of design including the

    components used, specifically the types of actuators and data analysis software.


    The four main tasks of this project include (1) design and build the vibration

    experimental setup, (2) develop Matlab interface to acquire and analyze the data from the

    vibration simulator, (3) develop a lab procedure and manual for students and instructors, and

    (4) make all relevant documentation available to all of academia via Internet.

    As mentioned, one aspiration of the road vibration simulator senior design is to enhance

    the learning experience and future engineering curricula. Education cannot be limited to

    learning solely from books, and because of this, the project teams primary intentions for the

    final device is that it be used by future engineering students and faculty at Miami University

    to supplement the traditional vibrations courses. Following this idea, all four of the general

    tasks identified in the problem statement have an end goal of enhancing education. The

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    road vibration simulator must have an experimental focus. Therefore, the first task classifies

    the device as an experimental setup and designing and building it is of primary concern for

    the design team. Engineering students use Matlab or other data acquisition devices to collect

    and analyze data during experimental procedures, thus, it is important for the design team to

    incorporate Matlab into the experimental setup. This allows students to use the simulator

    and understand it with ease. The third task listed is also of vital importance when it comes

    to the education process. The design team must develop a lab procedure for students to use

    in supplementation of vibrations courses. In addition, the team would like to construct a

    manual for students and instructors to refer to when using the road vibration simulator.

    Finally, with a broader reach in mind, the project team would like to make all design

    information, data, and documentation available to academia via Internet. The project team

    hopes to not only enhance Miami University, but also allow other universities with limited

    resources to improve the learning experience of their engineering students by taking ideas

    from the teams research and design to either duplicate or add to the experimental setup.


    With a problem definition focused on building equipment and designing experiments to

    enhance the educational experience at Miami, the design team has created a team objective

    to further clarify what this means to them. Education is fundamental to the conception of

    the project in the teams mind. They feel it is important to consider the enhancement of

    education in every step of the design and later the implementation process. Because of this

    an underlying, shared goal has been formed: To build intuitive, hands on experiments that

    supplement vibrations courses to enhance the educational experience of the engineering

    student. In order to achieve this goal, the team must constantly consider the future students

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    when making decisions about design. This will be referred to throughout the research and

    proposal sections. A simple example comes when choosing the layout for the graphical user

    interface (GUI). The team had to take the seat of the students when choosing this design.

    They had to consider, as students without any previous experience in vibrations or use of the

    software, what would make the interface easy to use and to understand. A more specific

    discussion of what went into this process can be found in the research and proposal section

    of GUI.

    The team also shares a common drive for choosing this project and working hard at

    providing intuitive educational aids. Throughout their educational experiences, the team

    feels that they have experienced many different effective as well as ineffective teaching

    techniques. It is well agreed upon that classes involving hands on experiences are the most

    effective in terms of material learned. The team feels that the reason for this is that these

    types of experiences force a student to apply the knowledge he or she has learned from a

    book, which in turn reinforces what has been taught allowing for better absorption of the


    A final objective of the team is related more to functionality of equipment and


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