What is a Chassis and what are its types?

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What is An Automobile Chassis?

Chassis is the main support structure of the vehicle which is also known as ‘Frame’. It bears all the stresses on the vehicle in both static and dynamic conditions. In a vehicle, it is analogous to the skeleton in living organisms. The origin of the word Chassis lies in the French language. Every vehicle whether it is a two-wheeler or a car or a truck has a chassis-frame. However, its form obviously varies with the vehicle type.

Ladder Frame simple diagram
Ladder Frame simple diagram

The Chassis has the following functions. It

  1. Supports or bears the load of the vehicle body
  2. Provide the space and mounting location for various aggregates of vehicle
  3. Supports the weight of various systems of the vehicle such as engine, transmission etc.
  4. Supports a load of passengers as well as the luggage
  5. Withstands the stresses arising due to bad road conditions
  6. Withstands stresses during braking and acceleration of the vehicle

Various types of Frames:

Depending upon the application, some of the main types of frame are as below:

Ladder Frame:

A typical ladder frame in the image below:

Ladder-Chassis (Courtesy: SAE International)

Applications of Ladder frame:

Heavy commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses mainly use the ladder frame structure. Some light commercial vehicles like pickup trucks also use the ladder frame.

Tubular Frame:

A typical tubular frame in the image below:

Tubular chassis (Courtesy: DTM Power)

Applications of Tubular frame:

Some racing vehicles and All-Terrain vehicles use tubular frame design.

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