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Soil behavior of wheels with grousers for planetary rovers

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4 Author(s)
Moreland, S. ; Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Skonieczny, K. ; Inotsume, H. ; Wettergreen, D.

The performance of wheels operating in loose granular material for the application of planetary vehicles is well researched but little effort has been made to study the soil shearing which governs traction. Net traction measurements and application of energy metrics have been solely relied upon to investigate performance but lack the ability to evaluate or describe soil-wheel interaction leading to thrust and resistances. The complexity of rim and grouser interaction with the ground has also prevented adequate models from being formulated. This work relies on empirical data gathered in attempt to study the effects of rim surface on soil shearing and ultimately how this governs traction. A novel experimentation and analysis technique was developed to enable investigation of terramechanics fundamentals in great detail. This technique, the Shear Interface Imaging Analysis Tool, is utilized to provide visualization and analysis capability of soil motion at and below the wheel-soil interface. Analysis of the resulting displacement field identifies clusters of soil motion and shear interfaces. Complexities in soil flow patterns greatly affect soil structure below the wheel and the resulting tractive capability. Grouser parameter variations, spacing and height, are studied for a rigid wheel. The results of soil shear interface analysis for wheels with grousers are presented. The processes of thrust and resistances are investigated and behavior characterized for grousered wheels.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2012 IEEE

Date of Conference:

3-10 March 2012

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