Longitudinal Vibration of Elastic Vehicle Track Systems 971090
Real-time simulation of tracked vehicle dynamics demands very efficient modeling of the vehicle track. Multi-body dynamics models which model the response of each track pitch are complete, but require on the order of 100 degrees of freedom to capture lateral track dynamics and an additional 200 degrees of freedom to capture longitudinal (stretching) track dynamics. The sheer size of such models renders them difficult to use for rapid estimates of track response. This paper summarizes an efficient alternative for modeling vehicle tracks, as illustrated herein by a model for longitudinal track dynamics. The present model is a hybrid discrete/continuous model in which the track is modeled as a continuous uniform elastic rod which is kinematically coupled to discrete models for the sprocket, wheels, and rollers. Solution efficiency derives from transforming the dynamic track model to one employing modal coordinates. The computed modes are used to investigate the forced response characteristics of the upper track span due to a variety of vehicle/terrain inputs. The modal content of the forced response is then critically evaluated to determine the minimum size track model required to capture dynamic track stretching.