A beam axle, also known as rigid axle or solid axle is a dependent suspension design, in which a set of wheels laterally by a single beam or shaft. Beam axles were once commonly used at the rear wheels of a vehicle, but historically they have also been used as front axles in rear-wheel-drive vehicles. In most automobiles, beam axles have been replaced by front and rear independent suspensions.
With a beam axle the camber angle between the wheels is the same no matter where it is in the travel of the suspension. A beam axle’s fore and aft location is constrained by either: trailing arms, semi-trailing arms, radius rods, or leaf springs, and the lateral location are constrained by either: a Panhard rod, a Scott Russell linkage or a Watt’s linkage. While shock absorbers and either leaf springs, coil springs, or air bags are used to control vertical movement. The Twist-beam rear suspension is a similar suspension design; however its beam axle is able to twist thereby it functions as an anti-roll bar in order to control the roll motion of the body and is considered to be a semi-independent suspension design.
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