Magnetorheological (MR) fluids provide an elegant means to enhance vibration control in primary vehicle suspensions. Such fluids can rapidly modify their flow characteristics in response to a magnetic field, so they can be used to create semi-active dampers. However, the behaviour of MR dampers is inherently non-linear and as a consequence, the choice of an effective control strategy remains an unresolved problem. Previous research has developed a method to linearize the damper's force/velocity response, to allow implementation of classical control techniques. In the present study, this strategy is used to implement skyhook damping laws within primary automotive suspensions. To simulate the vehicle suspension, a two-degree-of-freedom quarter car model is used, which is excited by realistic road profiles. The controller performance is investigated experimentally using the hardware-in-the-loop-simulation (HILS) method. This experimental method is described in detail and its performance is validated against numerical simulations for a simplified problem. The present authors demonstrate that feedback linearization can provide significant performance enhancements in terms of passenger comfort, road holding, and suspension working space compared with other control strategies. Furthermore, feedback linearization is shown to desensitize the controller to uncertainties in the input excitation such as changes in severity of the road surface roughness
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