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Optimization on High Adhesive Ability of Lunar Rover Wheel Based on Discrete Element Method

[+] Author Affiliations
Kailiang Zhang, Xuyan Hou, Pingping Xue, Kaidi Zhang, Ping Liang, Zongquan Deng

Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China

Paper No. IMECE2016-65807, pp. V001T03A021; 8 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 1: Advances in Aerospace Technology
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5051-0
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


The acquirement of lunar soil samples is the foundation to analyze and know about the composition of lunar soil and the lunar geologic structure. Because of the restrictions of the sampling method, the size of driller, the drilling pressure and the driller’s output power, the traditional digging method and vertical drilling method can only acquire the samples from lunar surface to 3 meters deep. In order to acquire the deeper samples based on the existing technique methods, a new exploration concept in which a driller fixed on the rover takes a horizontal drilling and sampling at the cross section of a crater after cleaning the surface chaotic soil was proposed in this paper. When drilling horizontally, the maximum drilling pressure is limited by the low adhesive ability between wheels and soil. For the purpose of making sure enough drilling pressure, study was carried out in this paper to improve the wheel’s adhesive ability by modifying the wheel’s surface. A wheel with a new kind of micro convex structures was proved to be more adhesive and stable during horizontal drilling by comparing with the existing wheel structures, such as wheel with thorns or discontinuous rims. The structural parameters of the convex structures may have significant influences on the adhesive ability. In order to study the effects of the convex structure’s parameters on wheel’s adhesive ability, the motion process of wheels on sandy road was simulated by using a DEM software EDEM. According to the simulation results, when the structural parameters of the convex structures are: flat-end shape, length/diameter = 5 and distribution density = 81/mm2, the wheel’s adhesive ability is much better than the wheel with other parameters based on a criterion which is the ratio of the tangential force to the normal force in the tangential motion process. Besides, the friction coefficient of wheels with convex structures is about 5 times as much as the friction coefficient of normal wheels, which proves that it is a useful method to improve wheel’s adhesive ability by modifying wheel’s surface with the convex structures.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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