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Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2019/2020
Scuola Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione
Docente Mastinu Gianpiero
Cfu 10.00 Tipo insegnamento Monodisciplinare

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

The first aim of the course is to provide the basic information on how vehicles are conceived, designed, produced, tested, used and eventually disposed or recycled. In particular, one key objective of the course is to describe how the main subsystems of the vehicle are conceived. The course deals both with road and rail vehicles. Designing a road vehicle is not designing a generic complex machine, issues concerning product and production processes must be dealt with. For both road and rail vehicles, we start with the basic functions, described by mathematical models, and we finally understand why vehicles are being made as they appear and which could be the future developments. Particular attention is devoted to historical development of vehicles, to understand their evolution process. Another aim is to provide practical experience by means of seminars delivered by companies, running on track (road), visiting overhaul workshops (rail).

One aim of the course is to enable students to conceive and design vehicles and their sub-systems. 

One aim refers to developing autonomous design skills, by team working and discussing the results of own work. Data to solve design problems are to be found by students, as in an actual job assignment.  

The above aim is related to the other aims referring to

-developing presentation skills and

-acquiring information useful to own project exercise. The ability of getting information and organize them for a design job is also fostered.



Risultati di apprendimento attesi

The student will reach

  • the understanding of the industrial environment referring to automotive and rail vehicle production
  • the understanding of how vehicles are conceived
  • the understanding of how the main road vehicle subsystems are designed (wheels, brake, suspension, drivetrain, body)
  • the understanding of how the main rail vehicle subsystems are designed (wheelsets, bogies, transmission, body, brake)

The student will be able to

  • define the performance for a car
  • define and design the active safety and ride comfort for a car (combining theoretical issues and practical experience)
  • design the suspension system of a car
  • design the architecture for a train
  • design the wheelset of a rail vehicle
  • design the testing of a bogie.

The student will

  • make judgement on his/her own project while defining the performance of a car or while designing the architecture of a train
  • be able to perform the design of a vehicle or of a vehicle-subsystem by defining the technical specifications, finding autonomously the data, applying proper models, perform a critique of the result, present them
  • be able to discuss in a team the obtained results (during the team projects referring to exercises)

Argomenti trattati

The design, engineering, construction and operation of ground vehicles is dealt with. Classes are divided into two main parts. In the first part, road and off-road vehicles are presented. In the second part railway vehicles are presented. Students can attend the whole classes (A-10 credits), or only the first part of the course or only the second part of the course ( 5 or 6 credits).

Introduction. Ground locomotion in nature, invention of the wheel and hystorical development of ground vehicles.

Architecture of road, off-road and rail vehicles. Paradigms for designing ground vehicles.

Conceptual design of road vehicles. Geometric dimensions and performance: maximum speed, acceleration, handling, understeering and oversteering  (basics)  as function of vehicle parameters, theory of handling diagrams.

Wheels and suspensions  Tyre: concept design and performance both on road and off-road. Rims: construction details. Suspensions:  McPherson, trailing arm, semi-trailing arm, double wishbone, ‘multi-link’, beam axle (either live or dead).

Springs and Dampers . Torsion springs, flexural springs (leaf), pneumatic springs. motube and twintube dampers, controlled dampers

Steering. Concept design, wheel angles , mechanical systems ( Ackermann, Jantaud), rack & pinion. Powersteering.

Braking. Partition of braking force front to rear, maximum braking power, brake force limiters and EBD, servo brake, ABS, drum and disk brake,  ‘retarder’, band brake

Powertrain and drivetrain. Engine charactristic suited to traction, gearboxes, clutch (single and double), hydraulic torque converter. Differentials (free, torque or speed sensitive, passive or active).

Body. Concept design of body-in-white, materials, construction types.

Lightweight. Concept: energy required to complete a NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). WLTP. Mass properties.

Active, preventive and passive safety for road and off-road vehicles.  

Future trends for road vehicles. New architectures for autonomous (automated) and connected green vehicles, zero fatalities, lightweight and durabilty performance, alternative fuels, electric vehicles, ITS (Intelligent Trasnsport Systems). 

Concept design of a rail vehicle. Gabarit, performance and payload, curve negotiation, derailment (Pochet-Nadal), rolling resistance, running into tunnels.

Wheels and track. Concept and embodiment design, materials, typical loads.

Wheelset.  Concept design, embodiment design, materials, wear, resilient wheels, axleboxes: kinematics, structure, bearings.

Bogies, motor bogies.  Concept design. Single motor and two-motor. Load transfer. Mechanical transmissions.

Body. Concept design, typical loads, embodiment design (European and US), buffers, couplers.

Braking. Fail safe-, automatic-, continuous-, controllable brake. Pneumatic system, triple valve, rheostatic brake, electromagnetic brake (friction or eddy current). Disk brake, clasp (shoe) brake.

Diesel and diesel electric locos. Electric and hydraulic transmission.

Life cycle cost and Reliability, Availability Maintainability.

Future trends for road vehicles. New architectures, lightweight and durabilty performance (lifecycle), safety and security, ITS (Intelligent Trasnsport Systems). 

Technical visits  and seminars are organized (both for road and rail vehicles) to provide in-depth understaning of specific and relevant topics.


All of the main courses given during the master are useful to understand properly the topics of Ground Vehicle Engineering.

Actually, we exploit all of the previous knowledge to come to the final design and construction process of vehicles and their sub-systems.

Modalità di valutazione

Type of exam

The exam is oral only.


Number of questions

For 10 CFU: 4 questions (2 on road, 2 on rail)

For 5 or 6 CFU: 2 questions (2 on road or 2 on rail, depending on which part of the course is taken by the student)



Road:                    1 question on lectures, FAQ in the file “questions – road vehicle.doc” on Beep

                                1 question on exercises (the list of exercises is reported on Beep)

Rail:                       1 question on lectures FAQ in the file “questions – rail vehicle.doc” on Beep

                                1 question on exercise (the list of exercises is reported on Beep)



Typically, one day is needed by the teacher to complete the exams. It is safe not to consider this as a rule. In case many candidates are to be examined, the exam may last more than one day.


Elapsed time

Writing the first question(s) and answering the second question(s) requires about 1.5 hours.


Practical issues during exam

To make easy and speedup the examinations, the first question on Road and/or Rail is answered by students not in front of the teacher. Students sit and write the answers taking the time they need. Then they discuss with the teacher their answers.


Extended dates

As a rule the exam dates are the ones officially defined. Exceptions are possible but are limited to very special cases, and only in the first session of exams.



The final mark is the non-weighted mean of the marks obtained answering the questions.


Specific knowledge and skills that are checked during the exam

Road: knowledge on how wheels, brake, suspension, drivetrain, body are designed

Road: the drawing of the suspension system and the suspension arm is always required and discussed

Rail: knowledge on how wheelsets, bogies, transmission, body, brake are designed

Rail: sometimes an assembly drawing of a bogie (never shown during classes) is presented and must be discussed by students

Always the teacher tries to check whether the exercises have been made by the student, asking detailed questions that are easily answered if a direct involvement has occurred.

The skills that are assessed are

-ability to conceive a vehicle -either road or rail- referring to its general characteristics, by finding the proper data wherever available

-ability to design vehicle subsystems, like suspension (car) or wheelset (rail) with autonomous reasoning

-ability to make judgement, referring to the definition of the performance of a car or the architecture of a train

-ability to learn by combining practical and theoretical experiences, reference is made to active safety of road vehicles

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaLecture notes Beep

Lecture notes contain what is presented during classes

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaG. Mastinu, M. Ploechl, Road and off-road vehicle system dynamics handbook, Editore: CRC, Anno edizione: 2014, ISBN: 9780849333224 Biblio PoliMi

E-book available from www.polimi.it

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaS Iwnicki, Handbook of railway vehicle dynamics, Editore: CRC, Anno edizione: 2006, ISBN: 9780849333217 biblio PoliMi

E-book available from www.polimi.it

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaM Mitschke, H Wallentowitz, Dynamik der Kraftfahrzeuge, Editore: Springer, Anno edizione: 2008
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaD Crolla, Encyclopedia of Automotive Engineering, Editore: Wiley, ISBN: 978-0-470-97402-5
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaG Genta, L Morello, The Automotive Chassis, Editore: Springer, Anno edizione: 2009
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaL Morello et Al., The automotive body, Editore: Springer, Anno edizione: 2011

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 100:00 150:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese
Disponibilità di materiale didattico/slides in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese
schedaincarico v. 1.6.6 / 1.6.6
Area Servizi ICT