Author(s): Peiyong Qin Glenn Dentel and
Abstract: Leaf spring design was mainly based on simplified equations and trial-and-error methods. The simplified equation models were limited to the three-link mechanism assumption and linear beam theory. This paper presents detailed finite element modeling and analysis of a two-stage multi-leaf spring, a leaf spring assembly, and a Hotchkiss suspension using ABAQUS. Non-linearity from large deformation, interleaf contact, and friction was included. Stresses and strains under different loads were analyzed. The spring and suspension characters such as spring rate, windup rate, roll rate, and roll steer were analyzed. Analysis results correlated well to laboratory test results. The simulation method presented can be used for the development of leaf springs and Hotchkiss suspensions. Durability can be predicted before prototyping. Suspension characteristics can be verified after the leaf geometry is designed. In addition, the rates predicted can be used in full vehicle NVH models or multi-body dynamic models. Over all, the method introduced can help to reduce product development time and costs significantly.