This thesis has explored the use of compliant mechanisms in vehicle suspension systems, specifically where a compliant mechanism acts as part of the wheel locating mechanism and as the energy storage element. A compliant mechanism has the potential of reducing part count, joints, and manufacturing and assembly costs of a suspension system. Fatigue failure has been found to be a limiting design constraint which competes with space and weight constraints. Controlling wheel motion in response to control forces has also been shown to be an important functional requirement for a compliant suspension system. Vehicle applications that are best suited for the use of compliant suspension systems are those that are low weight, have low energy storage requirements, and do not require precise vehicle handling characteristics. New compliant suspension concepts have been explored that support the wheel in 3-dimensions to minimize undesired wheel motions. These new concepts demonstrate increased stiffness and decreased stress due to control forces. Of these concepts, the compliant A-Arm proves to be the most promising candidate for future development. It has added advantages of lower space requirements, lower number of extra joints and rigid links, and simpler design for manufacture and assembly. The stiffness, stress, and kinematic characteristics of the compliant A-Arm configuration have been explored. This configuration has a non-linear force-deflection curve that is facilitated by the stress-stiffening effects of large deflections. A closed-form linear stiffness solution and a pseudo-rigid-body model has also been developed to aid in the initial design of the compliant A-Arm in a suspension system.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





compliant mechansisms, suspensions, automobile suspensions