Have you ever noticed that when a passenger car makes a turn, the two front wheels rotate at different angles? If not, do so right now. The Ackermann steering mechanism is a special device that regulates the steering angle of two front wheels. Continue reading to learn more about Ackermann steering and the need for it.

Ackermann Steering: What Is It?

Rudolph Ackermann used Georg Lankensperger’s Ackermann steering in his horse-drawn carriages. He maintained a tie rod connecting two wheels at separate points so that they turned at various angles. For one wheel to turn independently of the other.

Additionally, the steering system’s linkages, which consist of one fixed link & three moving links, have the shape of a trapezium. This steering theory, developed by Ackermann, enables the vehicle to turn without slipping.

Requirement of Ackerman Principle Of Steering

Every vehicle has a defined turning radius or the amount of room needed to make a circle. The turning radius center, an imaginary center point, is used to compute the radius. In 1818, Rudolph Ackerman developed a theory to address early cars’ roll and slip issues. Although others also wanted to be granted a patent for this idea, he was the first person from Britain to do so. Early automobiles sometimes had trouble turning from steep maneuvers. Therefore the Ackerman principle was a game-changer for cars with combustion engines.

Due to the difference in rod length, Ackerman utilizes a four-bar linkage coupled with an isosceles trapezoid platform. As a result, varied tire slip angles are created, facilitating easy vehicle handling.

Working of Ackerman Principle Of Steering

The Ackerman steering principle requires various tire rods and fixed links to provide optimum vehicle handling, making its operation easier. The operational link is used to adjust the length discrepancy between the fixed link & the operative link. The inclination link is concentrated on the back axle thanks to the tire rod’s shorter length. As a result, each tire generates a different slip angle when a car is turned, making it easier to turn the car. Additionally, the inclination force will correctly and automatically center the steering wheel at all angles.

Advantages of Ackerman Principle Of Steering

  • The Ackerman steering mechanism is a special system created by applying the Ackerman principle to the steering system. 
  • An Ackerman steering system has several advantages compared to hydraulic or power steering systems.
  • It stops the tyre from slipping outward as the car is being turned.
  • Because the tyre rods are shorter, the controllability of the vehicles is improved.
  • They can readily navigate steep moves thanks to the tire toe-out caused by the Ackerman steering geometry.
  • On the other hand, racing vehicles employ the opposite Ackerman principle to prevent adding to the weight on the outer tyres, which are already under stress from increased centrifugal force. 
  • On the race track, the added load & temperature can damage the tire by causing wear and tear.

Last Words

The Ackerman steering principle guarantees an exact turn. This principle explains the physics of varying rear & front tire angles about speed when a vehicle turns.

Without Ackerman’s application, it becomes challenging for automakers to create a vehicle that can turn precisely and steeply. All of this has to do with the cars’ Ackerman steering system. The application of the Ackerman principle achieves better vehicle handling.