Research Area Vehicle Dynamics & Acoustics

Vehicle Dynamics

Fields of Activity

  • Lateral Dynamics and Concept Development
  • Vertical Dynamics and Durability
  • Tyre Technology
  • Benchmarking and Function Development

General information

Since the very beginning of motorcar manufacturing, engineers have been constantly working on the development and optimization of all chassis components in order to improve ride comfort and active safety at the same time. ika’s chassis department follows this tradition. Thereby, our engineers master all steps in vehicle development: We offer our customers a large variety of development services beginning with conception and simulation through detailed design and prototyping up to testing procedures both on our test tracks and on our modern testing facilities.

Various tools are available at ika to support conceptual and advanced design of new suspensions. Three-dimensional CAD software (such as CATIA or IDEAS) enables us not only to define kinematical relationships but also to investigate free travel on newly developed chassis systems. By this means, potential errors can be minimized in the design phase, so that the costly prototype manufacturing can be prepared most efficiently. Prototype parts are either created at our own workshops or we rely on to the support of long-standing manufacturing partners.

Simulation as a tool

The simulation of vehicle dynamics is widely used by vehicle manufacturers and therefore represents another main point of chassis development at ika. At the moment, we are employing ADAMS® and SIMPACK®, two highly sophisticated software tools that have been acknowledged globally. Not only the simulation of multi-body-systems, but also a linkage to FEA-tools is possible. Here we take elastic deformations of chassis components into account or  investigate the stiffness and strength of components. In this context, we are working on the field of lightweight design of chassis systems.

We develop control algorithms of electronic chassis control systems as another focal working point. The software tools MATLAB®/SIMULINK® are brought into the MBS-simulations. Other tools, e. g. the dSpace Autobox or digital control units, are also available for the application to the target platform. In cooperation with the electronics department we go through the whole process of active chassis systems development.

Testing Facilities

Besides simulation activities driving tests remain a major part of chassis development. We are performing driving tests to assess and validate simulation results on our own test track. Equipped with the latest measuring devices (including autocollimators and gyroscopic platforms), we are able to carry out any kind of driving maneuvers. The experience of our testing engineers guarantee reliable and fast measurements to solve difficult problems.

For the experimental analysis of full vehicles or chassis components, ika employ various modern testing facilities. Next to a servo hydraulic test rig with more than nine cylinders we have a wheel-alignment analyzer (K&C test rig) to investigate the kinematics and elastokinematics of both complete vehicles and single axles. Here, various suspension characteristics such as roll stiffness, longitudinal and transversal elasticity, bump steer and steering compliance can be examined.

On two tire test benches we are able to measure forces resulting from skewing, crashing and slipping and analyze the static and dynamic features of the tires. Finally, we can measure the mass moment of inertia on both full vehicles and car components on different test rigs to generate reliable data for MBS programs.


Fields of Activity

  • Vehicle acoustics
  • Measure – analyse – simulate – optimise
  • Acoustics of alternative drivetrains
  • Exterior noise measurement
  • Torsional-vibration analysis

General information

The effort for quieter cars, meaning the gradually tightened noise regulations by the law as well as an increased intrest for a plesant interior sound experience by the vehicle customers make our acoustics department extremely important within our research work. More than fifteen years ago Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. J. W. Biermann launched the unit “Vehicle NVH”. We cover the entire spectrum of tasks provided by this field in numerous research and development projects. Due to our comprehensive knowledge, modern tools and facilities we are able to meet the various demands of our customers.

The two major fields of vehicle NVH in measurement and calculation are interior noise & vibration as well as exterior noise respectively. Exterior noise emission of vehicles is a substantial factor contributing to the environmental impact of traffic. Therefore, legislators all over the world have regulated exterior noise limits. Thus the automotive industry faces the need to meet the requirements to license their vehicles.

Research areas exerior and interior sound

In the subject area “exterior sound” we carry out noise measurements. In order to analyze dominant sources we apply aiming insulating measures culminating in special encapsulated vehicles.

In the field “interior sound” we execute road tests or drive tests on the roller test bench in the anechoic chamber. One main focus are drive train vibrations. We therefor specially developed component test benches, equipped with high-resolution measuring devices for detailed investigations on phenomena like gear noise, clutch squeal, joint beam.

Our measuring equipment

Beyond conventional sound measurement equipment we use a measuring system, which acquires sound signals as perceived by the human ear. This equipment is the basis for subsequent subjective noise rating and sound design. In our psychoacoustics-laboratory juries rate vehicle noise in listening tests according to well-accepted methods.

Structure Dynamics

Another major task is the investigation of structure dynamics. Components like engine or gearbox housings or even complete body shells are studied in testing and simulation. For measurement purposes we apply – among others – the Experimental Modal Analysis (EMA). The Finite Element Method (FEM) and Boundary Element Method (BEM) or Multi-Body Systems are used for simulations.

Have a look at our research projects here.


Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika)
RWTH Aachen University

Steinbachstraße 7
52074 Aachen · Germany

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+49 241 80 25600
+49 241 80 22147