Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science

Abstract

Electric circuits can be useful outside of electronics. For example, an electric circuit can be used to model a mechanical mechanism such as a car’s suspension. This is possible because like an RLC circuit, a circuit with a resistor, inductor, and a capacitor in series, a suspension system with a mass, a spring, and a shock absorber uses a second order differential equation to model the system.

However, the question remains, what is the advantage of using a circuit? The first advantage is that circuit elements are much less expensive than suspension systems. We can also use a circuit to see how a suspension would respond to conditions that are too extreme to drive a car on. The greatest advantage to using circuit elements is that the system can be adjusted with relative ease, compared to replacing springs and shock absorbers. This allows the individual to adjust the system to have the desired response before putting the time and money into making the suspension. In this thesis paper we will explore the suspension of a 1948 Ford F-2 and attempt to use an RLC circuit to model the suspension. This particular truck was chosen because of its unique and complicated suspension. We will begin by analyzing the truck’s suspension mathematically, then we will use the data we get from the truck to design a circuit that will correspond with the suspension.

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