Wear Resistance of Lunar Wheel Treads Made of Polymeric Fabrics
The purpose of this research is to characterize the wear resistance of wheel treads made of polymeric woven and non-woven fabrics. Experimental research is used to characterize two wear mechanisms: (1) external wear due to large sliding between the tread and rocks, and (2) external wear due to small sliding between the tread and abrasive sand. Experimental setups include an abrasion tester and a small-scale merry-go-round where the tread is attached to a deformable rolling wheel. The wear resistance is characterized using various measures including, quantitatively, by the number of cycles to failure, and qualitatively, by micro-visual inspection of the fibers’ surface. This paper describes the issues related to each experiment and discusses the results obtained with different polymeric materials, fabric densities and sizes. The predominant wear mechanism is identified and should then be used as one of the criteria for further design of the tread.