The effects of seven different tire sets on heavy truck steering feel characteristics were demonstrated from objective testing. Also, the steering behavior and vehicle dynamics were modeled in order to determine how well the resulting simulations could rank the steering performance of the tire sets relative to the objective results.

The objective testing was performed using a 6×4 tractor with a two-axle flatbed semi-trailer. Measured data included steering wheel torque, steering wheel angle, and lateral acceleration behavior resulting from on-center-type steering tests. In addition, the hydraulic pressure from the power steering system was also measured. The tests consisted of multiple cycles at 0.2 Hz and ±0.2 g. Steering-related performance metrics were selected and calculated based on the interaction between measured parameters.

The same test procedure was also applied using an analytical model of a steering system. The input was steering wheel torque, and outputs included the road wheel angles at the steer axle, which were then fed into a commercial vehicle dynamics model providing the vehicle dynamics behavior along with feedback required for the steering model (e.g., king pin moments). Tire loads and slip angles were also provided by the vehicle dynamics model and used as input to a tire model predicting tire force and moment behavior. The related metrics were subsequently computed and compared to the measured results.

Effects of the different tire sets on steering characteristics were seen from both the objective and simulation tests. Seven performance metrics were applied in a ranking comparison between measured and modeled results. Correlation of the modeled to measured metrics ranged from R2 values of 0.40 to 0.99 for the seven metrics considered.

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