Publication news

Design of manned lunar rover wheels and improvement in soil mechanics formulas for elastic wheels in consideration of deformation

Wanshen Xiao, Yan Zhang
Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 65, June 2016, Pages 61-71, ISSN 0022-4898,
Most of the current lunar rover vehicle wheels are inconvenient for changing broken wheels and have poor shock absorbing in driving, so they cannot be used to carry people on the moon. To meet the demands for manned lunar transportation, a new wheel possessing a woven metal wire mesh tire and using hub-rim combination slide mechanism is designed in this article. The characteristics of the new wheel is analyzed by comparing with the same-size conventional rover wheels after demonstrating the validity of FEM simulation. The new wheel possesses lighter structure and superior shock absorbing. It also provides stronger traction because the deformation of the designed wheel increases the contact area between the tire and lunar terrain. In order to establish an on-line soil parameter estimation algorithm for low cohesion soil, the stress distribution along a driven deformable wheel on off-road terrain is simplified. The basic mechanics equations of the interaction between the wheel and the lunar soil can be used for analytical analysis. Simulation results show that the soil estimation algorithm can accurately and efficiently identify key soil parameters for loose sand. 
Keywords: Manned lunar rover; Woven metal wire mesh tire; Wheel deformation; Soil parameter