Suspension Innovation for a Safer Journey

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A case study from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which looks at an innovative suspension system component that is boosting the performance of Formula One cars and improves comfort and safety in road cars, motorbikes and trains. Called the inerter, the component emerged from EPSRC-funded research undertaken at the University of Cambridge.

Where the quest for success in Formula One is concerned, the issue of 'grip' is never far away. The better the traction, the faster the car can travel. The inerter helps to control a car's oscillations, inproving mechanical grip and cutting lap times.

Professor Smith is working with McLaren's sports car division to explore other uses in motor sport. But there may be scope to incorporate inerters in ordinary cars, leading to improved handling and passenger comfort, and in motorcycles to control steering oscillations. Other applications could include train suspension systems, where inerters could aid stability at high speeds and minimise track damage.

EPSRC is a part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) partnership of research councils.

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