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Software tool for simulation of vehicle – road interaction

Francisco Duarte (Road Pavements Laboratory, CITTA, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
Adelino Ferreira (Road Pavements Laboratory, CITTA, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
Paulo Fael (Department of Electromechanical Engineering, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




This paper aims to deal with the development of a software tool to simulate and study vehicle – road interaction (VRI) to quantify the forces induced and energy released from vehicles to the road pavement, in different vehicle motion scenarios, and the energy absorbed by the road surface, speed reducers or a specific energy harvester surface or device. The software tool also enables users to quantify the energetic efficiency of the process.


Existing software tools were analysed and its limitations were identified in terms of performing energetic analysis on the interaction between the vehicle and the road pavement elements, such as speed reducers or energy harvest devices. The software tool presented in this paper intends to overcome those limitations and precisely quantify the energy transfer.


Different vehicle models and VRI models were evaluated, allowing to conclude about each model precision: bicycle car model has a 60 per cent higher precision when compared with quarter-car model, and contact patch analysis model has a 67 per cent higher precision than single force analysis model. Also, a technical study was performed for different equipment surface shapes and displacements, concluding that these variables have a great influence on the energy released by the vehicle and on the energy harvested by the equipment surface.


The developed software tool allows to study VRI with a higher precision than existing tools, especially when energetic analyses are performed and when speed reduction or energy harvesting devices are applied on the pavement.



The present research work has been carried out in the framework of project PAVENERGY –Pavement Energy Harvest Solutions (PTDC/ECM-TRA/3423/2014), co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness Factors (COMPETE) and by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). The author Francisco Duarte is also grateful to the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology for a personal research grant (SFRH/BD/95018/2013). The authors wish to acknowledge the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.


Duarte, F., Ferreira, A. and Fael, P. (2017), "Software tool for simulation of vehicle – road interaction", Engineering Computations, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 1501-1526.



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