1997-04-01

Finite Element Approach to Modeling the Dynamics Response of Rubber-Belted Tractor 971563

This research project investigates the feasibility of using a commercial finite element code to capture the dynamic response of a typical rubber-belted tractor for agricultural applications. The investigation focused on one of Caterpillar Inc.'s Ag Challenger Series tractors. A feasibility study concluded that Abaqus/Explicit [1], a finite element code utilizing the explicit scheme, had the desirable features needed to develop such a large-scale tractor model. These features include an efficient time integration scheme, three-dimensional generalized multiple contacts, and nonlinear material characterization. The fully-assembled tractor model was successful in simulating the forward motion. A preliminary validation indicated that the tractor model was able to predict a trend which was observed in field tests accurately. Based on the preliminary results, it can be concluded that the finite element approach utilizing the explicit scheme seems to be a promising tool to analyze the dynamics of rubber-belted tractors. The paper concludes with a discussion on the practicality of this approach.

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