Durability Analysis of 3-Axis Input to Elastomeric Front Lower Control Arm Vertical Ride Bushing
Fatigue life prediction of elastomer NVH suspension products has become an operating norm for OEMs and suppliers during the product quoting process and subsequent technical reviews. This paper reviews a critical plane analysis based fatigue simulation methodology for a front lower control arm. Filled natural rubber behaviors were measured and defined for the analysis, including: stress-strain, fatigue crack growth, strain crystallization, fatigue threshold and initial crack precursor size. A series of four distinct single and dual axis bench durability tests were derived from OEM block cycle specifications, and run to end-of-life as determined via a stiffness loss criterion. The tested parts were then sectioned in order to compare developed failure modes with predicted locations of crack initiation. In all cases, failure mode was accurately predicted by the simulation, and predicted fatigue life preceded actual end-of-life by not more than a factor of 1.4 in life.