# Explaining Damping with a car's suspension

• Physics345
In summary, a car suspension system uses dampening to reduce the amount of friction caused from bumpy roads.
Physics345

## Homework Statement

Explain what is meant by damping. Choose a specific technology that requires a damping mechanism and describe how the damping takes place.

none

## The Attempt at a Solution

Damping is to reduce amount of friction being caused from oscillations, therefore reducing thermal energy. For example a car like this lesson uses a dampening system in the suspension system, which adjusts the amplitude of the springs to compress and stretch to reduce the effects of friction (absorbed into the shocks) from bumpy roads reducing the amount of thermal energy produced; otherwise we would be bouncing up and down constantly while driving, similar to simple harmonic motion. The way the suspension system works, is by attaching the springs to pistons that move, compressing fluid in a cylinder. The role of the pistons is to allow thermal energy in the springs to quickly be dissipated through the fluid in the pistons this effect allows the car to avoid simple harmonic motion by dampening turning it into harmonic motion, in the form of damping, allowing for a smoother safer drive.

Let me know what you guys think.

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Physics345 said:
Damping is to reduce amount of friction being caused from oscillations, therefore reducing thermal energy. For example a car like this lesson uses a dampening system in the suspension system, which adjusts the amplitude of the springs to compress and stretch to reduce the effects of friction (absorbed into the shocks) from bumpy roads reducing the amount of thermal energy produced; otherwise we would be bouncing up and down constantly while driving, similar to simple harmonic motion. The way the suspension system works, is by attaching the springs to pistons that move, compressing fluid in a cylinder. The role of the pistons is to allow thermal energy in the springs to quickly be dissipated through the fluid in the pistons this effect allows the car to avoid simple harmonic motion by dampening turning it into harmonic motion, in the form of damping, allowing for a smoother safer drive.
Sorry, that explanation is not correct.

Can you post an animation of a car suspension system going over bumps, and describe what is going on?

Also, springs don't typically dissipate any energy. They just keep boinging up and down with no damping. The shock absorbers convert ___________ into __________, and that's why they help to dampen the oscillatory motion of the springs...

berkeman said:
Sorry, that explanation is not correct.

Can you post an animation of a car suspension system going over bumps, and describe what is going on?

Also, springs don't typically dissipate any energy. They just keep boinging up and down with no damping. The shock absorbers convert ___________ into __________, and that's why they help to dampen the oscillatory motion of the springs...
I knew it! I'll post a diagram in a few minutes, I have finish typing some equations, first then I'll create a diagram. Also The shock absorbers convert friction into thermal energy? I should probably do some research on how they work.

Opps I mean kinetic into thermal energy, that was a typo working on the animation now.

Physics345 said:
Opps I mean kinetic into thermal energy, that was a typo working on the animation now.
Do you know what a shock absorber does?

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Chestermiller said:
Do you know what a shock absorber does?
Not exactly to be honest. I need to do some research and retype my answer.

Okay I get it now after doing some research I was able to come up with a proper answer.

Damping is a decrease in the amplitude of an oscillation, when energy is drained from a system to counter frictional and other resistive forces. For example, A car that doesn’t have shock absorbers, and only has springs and it goes over an uneven surface the spring will compress then it will extend. During extension it will release the energy upwards and cause the passenger and the car to bounce up and down until it uses the kinetic energy that it gained from the bumpy road in an attempt to go back to its equilibrium, which would make the car uncontrollable. This is where the shock absorber comes into play; it controls the unwanted simple harmonic motion by dampening. The shock absorbers reduce the speed of the oscillations and also reduce the amplitude, by turning the kinetic energy gained by the motion into thermal energy, which is then dissipated through hydraulic fluid. Allowing the car to be controlled and not allowing you as the driver, to be thrown around in a metal box.

From now on I'll be sure to do the proper research, the textbook had a very short and non-detailed explanation.

Physics345 said:
Damping is a decrease in the amplitude of an oscillation, when energy is drained from a system to counter frictional and other resistive forces. For example, A car that doesn’t have shock absorbers, and only has springs and it goes over an uneven surface the spring will compress then it will extend. During extension it will release the energy upwards and cause the passenger and the car to bounce up and down until it uses the kinetic energy that it gained from the bumpy road in an attempt to go back to its equilibrium, which would make the car uncontrollable. This is where the shock absorber comes into play; it controls the unwanted simple harmonic motion by dampening. The shock absorbers reduce the speed of the oscillations and also reduce the amplitude, by turning the kinetic energy gained by the motion into thermal energy,

Allowing the car to be controlled and not allowing you as the driver, to be thrown around in a metal box.
Much better!
Physics345 said:
by turning the kinetic energy gained by the motion into thermal energy,
That part is correct...
Physics345 said:
which is then dissipated through hydraulic fluid.
But this last part is not quite correct. The hydraulic fluid in the shock absorber is what heats up from the restricted flow (or friction I guess). The heat is conducted to the rest of the metal chassis, and dissipated into the air...

Physics345
berkeman said:
Much better!

That part is correct...

But this last part is not quite correct. The hydraulic fluid in the shock absorber is what heats up from the restricted flow (or friction I guess). The heat is conducted to the rest of the metal chassis, and dissipated into the air...
I think that would be a bit too much for the scope of this course, I honestly don't even think the teacher would understand that so instead I wrote up something simpler tell me what you think "It then goes through the hydraulic fluid in the shock absorbers; it dissipates into the air after a process" or simply it dissipates through the air. since I already got my point across.

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If the "it" is the heat energy, then that should be okay.

Physics345
berkeman said:
If the "it" is the heat energy, then that should be okay.
you're correct I should not use it instead say Thermal energy.
Another one solved, with the help of my mentor!
Edit: I appreciate you taking your time to help me learn, It doesn't go unnoticed =)

## 1. What is damping in a car's suspension?

Damping in a car's suspension refers to the resistance of the suspension system to movement. It is responsible for absorbing and dissipating the energy from bumps on the road, resulting in a smoother ride.

## 2. How does damping affect a car's handling?

Damping plays a crucial role in a car's handling by controlling the rate at which the suspension compresses and rebounds. It helps maintain stability and prevents excessive bouncing or swaying of the vehicle.

## 3. What are the different types of damping in a car's suspension?

The three main types of damping in a car's suspension are:
1. Hydraulic Damping - uses fluid-filled shock absorbers to control the movement of the suspension
2. Pneumatic Damping - uses air-filled shock absorbers to provide a smoother and more adjustable ride
3. Electromagnetic Damping - uses an electric current to adjust the stiffness of the suspension

## 4. How can you tell if your car's suspension needs damping adjustment?

If your car is bouncing excessively, swaying on turns, or making unusual noises, it may be a sign that your suspension needs damping adjustment. You may also notice uneven tire wear or difficulty steering.

## 5. Can the damping on a car's suspension be adjusted?

Yes, the damping on a car's suspension can typically be adjusted by changing the settings on the shock absorbers. Some newer cars may also have electronic damping control systems that can be adjusted through the car's computer system.

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