What Is An Instant Centre?
The word “instant” means at that particular position of the linkage. “Centre” refers to a projected imaginary point that is effectively the pivot point of the linkage at that instant.
The instant centre is a point in space, governed by the position, angle and length of the upper and lower wishbone. It is measured by tracing a line from the top wishbone out until it meets the extrapolated line from the lower wishbone. The point of intersection is the point known as the instant centre.
As the linkage is moved, the centre moves, so proper geometric design not only establishes all the instant centres in their desired positions at ride height, but also controls how fast and in what direction they move with suspension travel.
Instant Centre and Roll Centre Relationship
The roll centre of a car can be found after the instant centre has been located for each of the wheels on each side. A line can then be drawn from the instant centre on one side, to the centre of the contact patch on the opposite side wheel. This is repeated for the other instant centre and wheel. Where these two lines intersect is the exact location of the roll centre for the vehicle. The roll centre is very important to locate when designing suspension and spring rates as it is used to calculate the roll moment of the vehicle.