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1.18.2017

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technical director

For more information, please contact Oscar Franzese, Technical Director, at franzeseo@ornl.gov or (865) 946-1304.

Heavy and overweight vehicle brake testing for combination five-axle tractor-flatbed

scaleThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration, sponsored the Heavy and Overweight Vehicle Brake Testing (HOVBT) program in order to provide information about the effect of gross vehicle weight (GVW) on braking performance. Because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations limit the number of braking system defects that may exist for a vehicle to be allowed to operate on the roadways, the examination of the effect of brake defects on brake performance for increased loads is also relevant. The HOVBT program seeks to provide relevant information to policy makers responsible for establishing load limits, beginning with providing test data for a combination tractor/trailer.

This testing was conducted on a five-axle combination vehicle with tractor brakes meeting the Reduced Stopping Distance requirement rulemaking. This report provides a summary of the testing activities, the results of various analyses of the data, and recommendations for future research. Following a complete brake rebuild, instrumentation, and brake burnish, stopping tests were performed from 20 and 40 mph with various brake application pressures (15 psi, 25 psi, 35 psi, 45 psi, 55 psi, and full system pressure). These tests were conducted for various brake conditions at the following GVWs: 60,000, 80,000, 91,000, 97,000, 106,000, and 116,000 lb. The 80,000-lb GVWs included both balanced and unbalanced loads. The condition of the braking system was also varied. To introduce these defects, brakes (none, forward drive axle, or rear trailer axle) were made inoperative. In addition to the stopping tests, performance-based brake tests were conducted for the various loading and brake conditions.

Analysis of the stopping test data showed the stopping distance to increase with load (as expected) and also showed that more braking force was generated by the drive axle brakes than the trailer axle brakes. The constant-pressure stopping test data revealed a linear relationship between brake application pressure and was used to develop an algorithm to normalize stopping data for weight and initial speed. Report Number ORNL/TM-2012/606

See Final Report (PDF, 2.5MB)