Automotive Lateral Dynamics and Mass Properties


Brian Paul Wiegand 

Class Description: 

The course objective is to enable the student to make reasonably accurate maximum lateral acceleration, rollover lateral acceleration, directional stability, and steering responsiveness determinations in the course of vehicle design. The student will also become acquainted with such things as the calculation of roll resistance, suspension roll center location, sprung mass roll axis inclination, sprung mass roll inertia, sprung mass roll moment arm, sprung mass roll angle under lateral acceleration, vehicle roll gain, vehicle dynamic index in yaw, transient center of rotation location, and transient yaw inertia. There will also be considerable time spent on the behavior of tires under lateral load and “Ackermann Steering Geometry” relationships.


This seminar is very important for anyone engaged in vehicle design, in particular those designing with an emphasis on performance, and special effort has been expended to make it particularly relevant for those involved in the SAE Student Formula Design Competition. However, no one completing this course will walk away without having acquired some degree of enlightenment, as well as a Certificate of Achievement, print-out of the course slides, electronic copies of SAWE Paper #3528 (“Mass Properties & Maximum Lateral Acceleration”), and the seminar’s “Maximum Lateral Acceleration Estimation Spreadsheet”.