Design and Analysis of Automotive Serpentine Belt Drive Systems for Steady State Performance

[+] Author and Article Information
R. S. Beikmann

Noise and Vibration Center, North American Operations, General Motors Corporation, Milford, Michigan 48380

N. C. Perkins, A. G. Ulsoy

Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

J. Mech. Des 119(2), 162-168 (Jun 01, 1997) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2826231 History: Received October 01, 1996; Online December 11, 2007


Serpentine belt drive systems with spring-loaded tensioners are now widely used in automotive engine accessory drive design. The steady state tension in each belt span is a major factor affecting belt slip and vibration. These tensions are determined by the accessory loads, the accessory drive geometry, and the tensioner properties. This paper focuses on the design parameters that determine how effectively the tensioner maintains a constant tractive belt tension, despite belt stretch due to accessory loads and belt speed. A nonlinear model predicting the operating state of the belt/tensioner system is derived, and solved using (1) numerical, and (2) approximate, closed-form methods. Inspection of the closed-form solution reveals a single design parameter, referred to as the “tensioner constant,” that measures the effectiveness of the tensioner. Tension measurements on an experimental drive system confirm the theoretical predictions.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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