Development and Qualitative Testing of Traction Concepts as an Undergraduate Experience 2010-01-0312
Recent research at Clemson University has focused on the development of an advanced non-pneumatic, non-elastomeric lunar wheel for NASA with superior traction. This paper reports on several concepts for tread materials and geometries that have been explored for tire-on-sand use. Specifically, fourteen concepts, involving the use of metal meshes, textile carpet materials, soft grousers, foams, and screens, were physically tested in an on-vehicle environment. Prototypes for each concept and formal test procedures to quantify traction were developed. This paper presents the results of the tests for several different concepts and the comparison between the concepts that were developed. Students developed their own testing environment through which these test procedures are implemented, an inclined hill 45 ft. in length and 8 ft. wide will approximately 6 inches deep filled with sand. Results were analyzed between several groups using a statistical tool, ANOVA, to find the variance between groups. Analysis of the results showed that a softer and uniform contact patch had better tractive capabilities.