Date of Defense

Spring 4-19-2011

First Advisor

James W. Kamman, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering

Second Advisor

Richard B. Hathaway, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering


cars, mechanics, automobiles


An existing tire spring rate testing machine was in need of further development and design before its deployment in the automotive racing supply marketplace. This device is used by racing teams to measure the stiffness of their race car tires in both the radial and lateral directions. It enables them to determine the optimal tire locations and suspension setup for their cars.

The control system and structural frame of the hydraulically actuated machine were redesigned for greater ease of use and durability. The redesign improved ease of use of the testing machine by replacing the manually controlled hydraulic valves with an automated hydraulic control system which executes the test procedure. The new control system utilizes instrumentation sensors and electric servo motors interfaced with a laptop computer running LabVIEW software.

The structural redesign utilized SolidWorks Finite Element Analysis software for verifying the structural design revisions. Structural analysis was performed and the load path was mapped to ensure that the structure was adequate. Structural revisions were also made to the testing machine to mitigate the effect of large torques that can be applied to the tire mounting nut.

All improvements to the tire testing machine were made while maintaining the cost of the machine below $2500. The redesigned testing machine will have improved market appeal due to its increased ease of use and durability.


Full text of this thesis not available per author.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only