Flexures: Spherical Bearings Be Warned

7 02 2013

Like most autocross cars, our car uses spherical bearings to attach the a-arms and z-arms to the frame.  A new design currently under development will replace these bearings with flexures, solid components that allow for movement in the vertical direction without moving parts. This design is undergoing physical testing to validate the FEA simulations and to ensure that the car will withstand the forces that occur during a race. Our team is simulating this component using both Pro Engineer and real world MTS testing to analyze the stress distributions and to ensure the component performs to specification.  So far the flexures have performed exactly as predicted by simulation and are slated for implementation on the next iteration of the car.  See the figures below for a selection of the FEA simulations and MTS testing.


Figure 1: Flexure (This is designed to bend along the thin section)


Figure 2: Yield Simulation (Red indicates areas of high stress)


Figure 3: Buckling Simulation

mts testing

Figure 4: MTS Testing (Testing the critical buckling load)

surface strees top

 Figure 5: Surface stresses due to bending for front upper arm

Fatigue upper

Figure 6: Fatigue life of the flexures on the front upper arms




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