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Sensors for Road Load Measurements

Accelerometers, Pressure Sensors, Force Sensors, Strain Sensors, Load Cells, and Signal Conditioners

Road load tests measure the transient and steady state inputs of a vehicle as it operates over a road surface in the anticipated market region of use or over a replicated drive profile on a test track. Road load measurements take into account all projected vehicle and driving parameters such as mass, inertia, air and rolling resistance, road characteristics, engine loads, and vehicle speed.

Road load data is one of the best sources of fundamental information necessary for analysis of the design, reliability, and structural integrity of vehicle components. The sensors must be accurate, but most importantly, they must be robust and reliable to survive the shock, heat, humidity, and contamination associated with various measurement locations on the vehicle and the adverse conditions of the road profile. One of the key measurements for Road Load Data Acquisition (RLDA) is spindle force and motion, a measure of road input into the vehicle. The accuracy of both phase and amplitude are critical for this application as these multi-axis measurements are processed and used to drive vehicle simulators for durability validation. Any deviation from actual amplitude and phase could yield erroneous failure modes in the vehicle structure. PCB® sensor solutions ensure the accuracy of both amplitude and phase in a robust package ideally suited for ambient test environments.

PCB® Series 5400 Multi-Axis Wheel Force Transducers are designed as rugged one-piece units that mount between the vehicle hub and the wheel rim, delivering highly accurate road load data measurement and superior performance in a durable water-resistant package. Possessing superior temperature compensation properties and integral overload stops, these sensors provide a high level of confidence in data acquired during aggressive road events, including heavy braking tests.

PCB® Series 3711 (single axis) and 3713 (triaxial) single-ended DC accelerometers are ideal for measuring low frequency spindle response under harsh conditions. Hermetically sealed in a titanium package, these DC accelerometers offer protection from the severe nature of RLDA testing including excellent high frequency overload protection from abrupt changes in road profiles and insensitivity to base strain and transverse acceleration effects. PCB® Series 3741 (single axis) differential DC accelerometers are also instrumental for RLDA testing. The differential output signal of these units enables common-mode noise rejection while its packaging incorporates gas damping and mechanical over-range stops for added durability.

In addition to spindle force and motion, several other measurements are routinely taken including shock, brake and steering system fluid pressures. PCB® Series 1500 Thin-Film Pressure Transducers are designed to achieve high accuracy, repeatability, and stability in pressure measurements from vacuum to 6000 psi.

Stress profiles on components are sometimes desired in the collection of road load data. PCB® offers a series of ICP® strain sensors, Series 240 and 740, that are easy to install and non-invasive. These units measure stress forces along the structure to which the sensors are mounted and can be powered by any ICP® signal conditioner.

PCB® products are designed and manufactured in our state-of-the-art facilities, and together with our global distribution network and Total Customer Satisfaction guarantee, you can rely on us to deliver products and solutions for your demanding requirements.