Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

J.A.M. Boulet

Committee Members

Jack F. Wasserman, Joshua S. Fu

Abstract

Truck drivers are more susceptible than other workers to lower back pain and spinal disorders caused by whole body vibrations, which are among the most common long term health effects for drivers. The dynamic behavior of trucks can be modeled and simulated to improve the design of the trucks, which can reduce the exposure of drivers to whole body vibrations.

The main purposes of this study are to analyze vibrations for different manufacturers and road types, and to create a computer-based model using Adams to predict vibration anywhere on the model using acceleration data collected previously from on-road tests of real vehicles. Another objective of this study is to develop a method for validating an Adams model of trucks tested. Also, this study examines the results predicted by the simulations.

This study uses vibration measurements that were made on twenty-two heavy-duty diesel vehicles from four different manufacturers, each driven on the same route, which include rural and interstate roads. Road types and manufacturers are compared using data from an accelerometer located underneath the driver seat. Vertical vibrations in five trucks are simulated using Adams, one truck from each manufacturer and one without a trailer. Vibrations in three orthogonal directions are compared for of the trucks.

Results show that the vibrations on the roads of US-27 and I-75 are similar to each other, while the manufacturers show significant differences between one another. Two basic models were developed with Adams that use collected data to “drive” the model. Results are more accurate when the data from the transducers located on the body of interest are used as impact. Only one transducer is needed on the body of interest to provide accurate results. Since the mechanical properties of the trucks tested were not available, the model has not been validated. However, the model could be validated if the specifications of a tested truck were given.

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