Multi-body dynamics analysis and experimental investigations for the determination of the physics of drive train vibro-impact induced elasto-acoustic coupling
A very short and disagreeable audible and tactile response from a vehicle driveline may be excited when the throttle is abruptly applied or released, or when the clutch is rapidly engaged. The condition is most noticeable in low gear and in slow moving traffic, when other background engine and road noise levels are low. This phenomenon is known as clonk and is often associated with the first cycle of shuffle response, which is a low frequency longitudinal vehicle movement excited by throttle demand. It is often reported that clonk may coincide with each cycle of the shuffle response, and multiple clonks may then occur. The problem is aggravated by backlash and wear in the drivetrain, and it conveys a perception of low quality to the customer. Hitherto, reported investigations do not reveal or discuss the mechanism and causal factors of clonk in a quantitative manner, which would relate the engine impulsive torque to the elastic response of the driveline components, and in particular to the noise radiating surfaces. Crucially, neither have the issues of sensitivity, variability and non-linearity been addressed and published. It is also of fundamental importance that clonk is seen as a total system response to impulsive torque, in the presence of distributed lash at the vibro-elastic impact sites. In this thesis, the drivetrain is defined as the torque path from the engine flywheel to the road wheels. The drivetrain is a lightly damped and highly non-linear dynamic system. There are many impact and noise emitting locations in the driveline that contribute to clonk, when the system is subjected to shock torque loading. This thesis examines the clonk energy paths, from the initial impact to many driveline lash locations, and to the various noise radiating surfaces. Both experimental and theoretical methods are applied to this complex system. Structural and acoustic dynamics are considered, as well as the very important frequency couplings between elastic structures and acoustic volumes. Preliminary road tests had indicated that the clonk phenomenon was a, very short transient impact event between lubricated contacts and having a high frequency characteristic. This indicated that a multi-body dynamics simulation of the driveline, in conjunction with a high frequency elasto-acoustic coupling analysis, would be required. In addition, advanced methods of signal analysis would be required to handle the frequency content of the very short clonk time histories. These are the main novelties of this thesis. There were many successful outcomes from the investigation, including quantitative agreement between the numerical and experimental investigations. From the experimental work, it was established that vehicle clonk could be accurately reproduced on a driveline rig and also on a vehicle chassis dynamometer, under controlled test conditions. It then enabled Design of Experiments to be conducted and the principal causal factors to be identified. The experimental input and output data was also used to verify the mathematical simulation. The high frequency FE analysis of the structures and acoustic cavities were used to predict the dynamic modal response to a shock input. The excellent correlation between model and empirical data that was achieved, clearly established the clonk mechanism in mathematical physics terms. Localised impact of meshing gears under impulsive loads were found to be responsible for high frequency structural wave propagation, some of which coupled with the acoustics modes of cavities, when the speed of wave propagation reached supersonic levels. This finding, although previously surmised, has been shown in the thesis and constitutes a major contribution to knowledge.