Planetary rovers are different from conventional terrestrial vehicles in many respects, making it necessary to investigate the terramechanics with a particular focus on them, which is a hot research topic at the budding stage. Predicting the wheel-soil interaction performance from the knowledge of terramechanics is of great importance to the mechanical design/evaluation/ optimization, dynamics simulation, soil parameter identification, and control of planetary rovers. In this study, experiments were performed using a single-wheel testbed for wheels with different radii (135 and 157.35 mm), widths (110 and 165 mm), lug heights (0, 5, 10, and 15 mm), numbers of lugs (30, 24, 15, and 8), and lug inclination angles (0°, 5°, 10°, and 20°) under different slip ratios (0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.6, etc.). The influences of the vertical load (30 N, 80 N, and 150 N), moving velocity (10, 25, 40, and 55 mm/s), and repetitive passing (four times) were also studied. Experimental results shown with figures and tables and are analyzed to evaluate the wheels' driving performance in deformable soil and to draw conclusions. The driving performance of wheels is analyzed using absolute performance indices such as drawbar pull, driving torque, and wheel sinkage and also using relative indices such as the drawbar pull coefficient, tractive efficiency, and entrance angle. The experimental results and conclusions are useful for optimal wheel design and improvement/verification of wheel-soil interaction mechanics model. The analysis methods used in this paper, such as those considering the relationships among the relative indices, can be referred to for analyzing the performance of wheels of other vehicles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Mechanical Engineering