Shock asorbers are designed to give certain damping force values at certain speeds, usally illustrated by rebound and compression curves. Even though the matters seems quite easy and straightforward finding the right settings involve a great deal of engineering, testing and validation works.
The main idea of this study is to find an optimum setting between driving comfort and ride&handling features. By principle the more damping forces increase, in other words the more shock absorber gets harder the better ride&handling characteristics are obtained. As a result for a given vehicle and loading conditions braking distance is reduced and cornering at higher speeds become safe when the shock absorbers get harder. But meanwhile that would mean compromising from driving comfort, because passenger would feel road impacts harder on a vehicle with harder shock absorbers and such conditions also negatively affects the overall noise level inside the vehicle cabin. Therefore suspension engineers do their best to optimize driving comfort and ride&handling characteristics by adjusting damping force values. Vechicle type, vehicle segment, overall road conditions and consumer expectations guide suspension engineers whether to compromise driving comfort or ride&handling characteristics.
Prime function of shock absorber is to ensure that optimum contact between tyre and road surface is maintained so that;
- during acceleration
- during braking
- during cornering
in order to balance vehicle load on wheels for obtaining efficient friction forces which guides and directs the car on the road.
Also shock absorbers reduce bad effects of vibration on passengers and car body. Shock absorbers reduce impact effects on axle parts in order to maintain longer part life. Shock absorbers also reduce the sound effect of bad road conditions in the vehicle cabin.