Submitted to: International Agricultural Engineering Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 9, 2009
Publication Date: September 2, 2009
Citation: Way, T.R. 2009. Three single wheel machines for traction and soil compaction research. CIGR EJournal. Manuscript 1534. XI:1-24.
Interpretive Summary: Traction of agricultural tractors and other off-road vehicles is important in allowing these vehicles to perform their desired tasks. Improvements in the efficiency with which these vehicles convert engine power to the power actually used in pulling an implement or other load are important in conserving energy, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing operating costs. Also, soil compaction often limits crop roots from reaching more soil to access water and nutrients, and reduces rates of water infiltration into soil, causing increased soil erosion. In recent years, three machines for determining traction performance, the efficiency of traction, and soil compaction characteristics of agricultural tires and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tires have been developed at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, Alabama. One of the machines operates a single tractor drive tire or a similar tire on the soil bins at the Laboratory. A second machine is a smaller machine that mounts to the first one, and operates an ATV tire on the soil bins. The third machine is for use in the field and mounts to the Laboratory's gantry, which is a large four-wheeled vehicle for off-road use. This third machine operates a single tractor drive tire or a similar tire in a field. Traction performance and soil compaction information generated by the first two machines, which operate on the soil bins, has been useful in determining optimal tread designs and optimal operating characteristics, such as the weight supported by a tire and the tire air pressure, for agricultural, forestry, and ATV tires.
Three single wheel machines for traction and soil compaction research have been developed in recent years at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory. The Traction Research Vehicle has been used extensively for soil bin traction and soil compaction experiments. The vehicle uses feedback computer control to control tire dynamic load, forward velocity, inflation pressure, and in a given run, either travel reduction or net traction. The all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tire single wheel machine has been used in determining traction and motion resistance characteristics of ATV tires in soil bins. The ATV tire machine uses the forward velocity feedback computer control of the Traction Research Vehicle and uses deadweight loading for dynamic load. Tire angular velocity is manually controlled by the operator using a joystick. A single wheel traction research machine designed for use in the field has been developed, but computer control has not been completed.