Title page for ETD etd-05112010-000153

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Senatore, Carmine
URN etd-05112010-000153
Title Prediction of mobility, handling, and tractive efficiency of wheeled off-road vehicles
Degree PhD
Department Engineering Science and Mechanics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ross, Shane D. Committee Co-Chair
Sandu, Corina Committee Co-Chair
Cramer, Mark S. Committee Member
Dowling, Norman E. Committee Member
Hendricks, Scott L. Committee Member
  • tire dynamics
  • tractive efficiency
  • energy efficiency
  • tire soil interaction
  • off-road
  • torque distribution
  • fuel economy
  • lateral force
  • multi pass
Date of Defense 2010-05-03
Availability restricted
Our society is heavily and intrinsically dependent on energy transformation and usage.

In a world scenario where resources are being depleted while their demand is increasing, it

is crucial to optimize every process. During the last decade the concept of energy efficiency

has become a leitmotif in several fields and has directly influenced our everyday life: from

light bulbs to airplane turbines, there has been a general shift from pure performance to

better efficiency.

In this vein, we focus on the mobility and tractive efficiency of off-road vehicles. These

vehicles are adopted in military, agriculture, construction, exploration, recreation, and mining

applications and are intended to operate on soft, deformable terrain.

The performance of off-road vehicles is deeply influenced by the tire-soil interaction

mechanism. Soft soil can drastically reduce the traction performance of tires up to the

point of making motion impossible. In this study, a tire model able to predict the performance

of rigid wheels and flexible tires is developed. The model follows a semi-empirical

approach for steady-state conditions and predicts basic features, such as the drawbar pull,

the driving torque and the lateral force, as well as complex behaviors, such as the slip-sinkage

phenomenon and the multi-pass effect. The tractive efficiency of different tire-soil configurations is simulated and discussed. To investigate the handling and the traction efficiency,

the tire model is implemented into a four-wheel vehicle model. Several tire geometries, vehicle

configurations (FWD, RWD, AWD), soil types, and terrain profiles are considered to

evaluate the performance under different simulation scenarios. The simulation environment

represents an effective tool to realistically analyze the impact of tire parameters (size, inflation

pressure) and torque distribution on the energy efficiency. It is verified that larger

tires and decreased inflation pressure generally provide better traction and energy efficiency

(under steady-state working conditions). The torque distribution strategy between the axles

deeply affects the traction and the efficiency: the two variables can’t clearly be maximized

at the same time and a trade-off has to be found.

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