Research Area Vehicle Dynamics & Acoustics

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 built up at own workshops or we fall back to the support of long-standing manufacturing partners.

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 globaly. Not only the simulation of multi-body-systems, but also a linkage to FEA-tools is possible in order to take elastic deformations of chassis components into account or to investigate the stiffness and strength of components. In this context, we are working on the field of lightweight design of chassis systems.

Especially the development of control algorithms of electronic chassis control systems is 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 are capable of the whole path of active chassis systems development.

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 manoeuvres. 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 servohydraulic 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 the out of tire slipping, crashing and creeping resulting forces 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 the MBS programs.


Fields of Activity

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

General information

The increasing demands on decreasing exterior noise emissions required by law and on pleasant interior noise make our acoustics department extremely important within our research work. Nowadays it is inevitable to optimize the interior and exterior noise of vehicles constantly. Manufacturers and suppliers likewise take care of meeting the requirements of vehicle acoustics. Due to this trend in automotive development we also pay special attention to vehicle acoustics. 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 by 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 and 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.
In the subject area “exterior noise” 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 noise” we execute road tests or drive tests on the roller test bench in the anechoic chamber. One main focus are drive train vibrations. We developed component test benches, equipped with high-resolution measuring devices for detailed investigations on phenomena like gear noise, clutch squeal, joint beam.

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.

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