On the sway stability improvement of car–caravan systems by articulated connections

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The present analysis is addressed to some promising connection arrangements between the towing vehicles and the towed trailers, where the two units are linked by four-bar isosceles trapeziums in place of the conventional pintle hitch. Two types of instability, of the divergent type or the oscillating type, may be analysed by the Routh–Hurwitz criterion or by the direct analysis of the characteristic equation. The constant term of this equation vanishes at the divergent instability threshold (zero of a real root), whereas the equation splits into two lower degree algebraic ‘sub-equations’ when the oscillating instability arises (pair of pure imaginary roots). A large field of geometrical configurations of the four-bar linkage may be quickly tested by numerical search procedures, including those where the sidebars of the linkage converge towards the inside of the drawing car and shift the relative centre of rotation forward, and those converging backward towards the trailer. Maps of the critical velocity as a function of the geometrical or physical parameters may be easily traced. They clearly show the favourable influence of the forward four-bar connection in general and the benefits achievable comparing with the conventional coupling. Actually, it is conceivable to increase the critical speed by optimising the four-bar design depending on the weight distribution on the axles and on the other geometrical and physical properties. Moreover, this type of connection may produce significant corrections to the under-steering or over-steering conduct of the articulated vehicle. The off-tracking and the manoeuvrability along curved paths are also studied, showing the benefits or the drawbacks of the four-bar linkage for the various configurations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1372
Number of pages23
JournalVehicle System Dynamics
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanical Engineering


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