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1. WO1997011855 - VARIABLE DAMPING FORCE SHOCK ABSORBER

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[ EN ]

Clai-ms
I claim:
1. A shock absorber for variably damping the
transmission of forces between a body of a vehicle and a suspension member supporting a road wheel, the vehicle being of the type which has an apparatus for sensing one or more operating conditions and transmitting one or more control signals which are indicative of the operating conditions, the shock absorber comprising:
(a) a housing adapted for connection to one of the vehicle body and the suspension member and defining an internal space, and a piston adapted for connection to the other of the vehicle body and the suspension member and disposed within the internal space for dividing the internal space into a first working chamber and a second working chamber and for moving relative to the housing, the working chambers containing a working fluid;
(b) an assembly of a threshold valve and a main valve adapted to supplementarily control the flow of fluid from the first working chamber to a receiving chamber, the threshold valve and the main valve having front sides subject to the pressure in the first working chamber and opposite back sides ;
(c) a pilot fluid path from the front sides of the threshold and main valves to the back sides;
(d) a pilot circuit providing fluid communication from the pilot fluid path through a variable orifice to the receiving chamber;

(e) an orifice modifier adapted to vary the size of the variable orifice in the pilot circuit;
(f) a remotely controlled actuator adapted to operate the orifice modifier, the actuator being controlled by the one or more control signals;
(g) means for providing for a complete circuit of the fluid among the working chambers and the receiving chamber;
(h) whereby varying the cross sectional area of the variable orifice varies the pressure on the back sides of the threshold valve and the main valve and thereby varies the amount of pressure in the first working chamber needed to open the threshold valve and the main valve.

2. A shock absorber as recited in claim 1 , wherein the receiving chamber is a reservoir.

3. A shock absorber as recited in claim 1, wherein the receiving chamber is the second working chamber.

4. A shock absorber as recited in claim 1, wherein the threshold valve and the main valve provide parallel first and second fluid paths to the receiving chamber.

5. A shock absorber as recited in claim 1, wherein the threshold valve and the main valve are arranged coaxially.

6. A shock absorber as recited in claim 5, wherein the threshold valve and the main valve are axially bored and their axial bores are aligned to provide the pilot fluid path.

7. A shock absorber as recited in claim 1, wherein:
(a) the threshold valve and the main valve are poppet valves having a threshold poppet and a main poppet
respectively; and
(b) the threshold poppet and the main poppet are telescopically arranged so that the threshold poppet moves reciprocally and relatively within the main poppet.

8. A shock absorber as recited in claim 7, wherein the threshold poppet and the main poppet are axially bored and their axial bores are aligned to provide the pilot fluid path.

9. A shock absorber as recited in claim 8, wherein the front and back sides of the threshold valve and the main valve are sized, and the threshold valve and the main valve are biased, so that, when the variable orifice is
substantially closed, increasing pressure in the first work chamber unseats the main poppet but not the threshold poppet and, when the variable orifice is not substantially closed, increasing pressure in the first work chamber first unseats the threshold poppet and then the main poppet.

10. A shock absorber as recited in claim 1, wherein the orifice modifier is a spool-type proportional valve and the remotely controlled actuator is a solenoid controlled by the one or more control signals .

11. A shock absorber for variably damping the
transmission of forces between a body of a vehicle and a suspension member supporting a road wheel, the vehicle being of the type which has an apparatus for sensing one or more operating conditions and transmitting one or more control signals which are indicative of the operating conditions, the shock absorber comprising:
(a) a housing adapted for connection to one of the vehicle body and the suspension member and defining an internal space, and a piston adapted for connection to the other of the vehicle body and the suspension member and disposed within the internal space for dividing the internal space into a first working chamber and a second working chamber and for moving relative to the housing, the working chambers containing a working fluid;
(b) a first valve assembly adapted to control the flow of fluid from the first working chamber to a first receiving chamber, the first valve assembly having a front side subject to the pressure in the first working chamber and an opposite back side;
(c) a second valve assembly adapted to control the flow of fluid from the second working chamber to a second
receiving chamber, the second valve assembly having a front side subject to the pressure in the first working chamber and an opposite back side;
(d) a first pilot fluid path from the front side of the first valve assembly to the back side;
(e) a second pilot fluid path from the front side of the second valve assembly to the back side;

(f) a pilot circuit providing fluid communication from the first pilot fluid path through a first variable orifice to the first receiving chamber and from the second pilot fluid path through a second variable orifice to the second receiving chamber;
(g) an orifice modifier apparatus adapted respectively to vary the size of the first variable orifice and the size of the second variable orifice, the orifice modifier
apparatus being inversely ganged so that any orifice
modifying operation both enlarges one of the first and second variable orifices and reduces the other of the first and second variable orifices;
(h) a remotely controlled actuator adapted to operate the orifice modifier apparatus, the actuator being controlled by the one or more control signals; and
(i) means for providing for a complete circuit of the fluid among the working chambers and the receiving chambers.

( j ) whereby varying the sizes of the first and second variable orifices varies the pressure on the back sides of the first and second valve assemblies and thereby varies the amount of pressure in the first and second working chambers respectively needed to open the first and second valve assemblies .

12. A shock absorber as recited in claim 11, wherein the orifice modifier apparatus is a single spool-type
proportional valve having the structures to modify both the first variable orifice and the second variable orifice such that moving the spool in one direction enlarges one of the orifices and reduces the other and moving the spool in a reciprocal direction reduces the one of the orifices and enlarges the other.

13. A shock absorber as recited in claim 11, wherein the first and second receiving chambers are a reservoir.

14. A shock absorber as recited in claim 11, wherein the first receiving chamber is the second working chamber and the second receiving chamber is the first working chamber.

15. A shock absorber as recited in claim 11, wherein the first valve assembly comprises a first threshold valve and a first main valve adapted to act supplementarily and the second valve assembly comprises a second threshold valve and a second main valve adapted to act supplementarily.

16. A shock absorber as recited in claim 15, wherein the first threshold valve and the first main valve provide parallel first and second fluid paths to the first receiving chamber .

17. A shock absorber as recited in claim 15, wherein the first threshold valve and the first main valve are arranged coaxially.

18. A shock absorber as recited in claim 17, wherein the first threshold valve and the first main valve are axially bored and their axial bores are aligned to provide the first pilot fluid path.

19. A shock absorber as recited in claim 15, wherein:
(a) the first threshold valve and the first main valve are poppet valves having a first threshold poppet and a first main poppet respectively; and
(b) the first threshold poppet and the first main poppet are telescopically arranged so that the first threshold poppet moves reciprocally and relatively within the first main poppet .

20. A shock absorber as recited in claim 19, wherein the first threshold poppet and the first main poppet are axially bored and their axial bores are aligned to provide the first pilot fluid path.

21. A shock absorber as recited in claim 20, wherein the front and back sides of the first threshold valve and the first main valve are sized, and the first threshold valve and the first main valve are biased, so that, when the first variable orifice is substantially closed, increasing pressure in the first work chamber unseats the first main poppet but not the first threshold poppet and, when the first variable orifice is not substantially closed, increasing pressure in the first work chamber first unseats the first threshold poppet and then the first main poppet.

22. A shock absorber as recited in claim 11, wherein the remotely controlled actuator is a solenoid controlled by the one or more control signals.