This paper describes the results of a study of the correlation between the performances of wheels for lunar vehicles predicted using the Nepean wheeled vehicle performance model (NWVPM), developed under the auspices of Vehicle Systems Development Corporation, Ottawa, Canada, and the corresponding test data presented in 'Performance evaluation of wheels for lunar vehicles', Technical Report M-70-2, prepared for George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA, by the US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station (WES). The NWVPM was originally developed for design and performance evaluation of terrestrial off-road wheeled vehicles. The purpose of this study is to assess the potential of the NWVPM for evaluating wheel candidates for the new generation of extra-terrestrial vehicles. Two versions of a wire-mesh wheel and a hoop-spring wheel, which were considered as candidates for lunar roving vehicles for the NASA Apollo program in the late 1960s, together with a pneumatic wheel were examined in this study. The tractive performances of these wheels and of a 4 × 4 test vehicle with the pneumatic wheels on air-dry sand were predicted using the NWVPM and compared with the corresponding test data obtained under Earth's gravity and previously documented in the above-named report. While test data on wheel or vehicle performances obtained under Earth's gravity may not necessarily be representative of those on extra-terrestrial bodies, because of the differences in gravity and in environmental conditions, such as atmospheric pressure, it is still a valid approach to use test data obtained under Earth's gravity to evaluate the predictive capability of the NWVPM and its potential applications to predicting wheel or wheeled rover performances on extra-terrestrial bodies. Results of this study show that, using the ratio (P2o/W) of the drawbar pull to normal load at 20 per cent slip as a performance indicator, there is a reasonable correlation between the predictions and experimental data. This indicates that the NWVPM has the potential as an engineering tool for evaluating wheel candidates for a future generation of extra-terrestrial vehicles, provided that appropriate input data are available.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Correlation study, Lunar vehicle wheels, Simulation models, Terrestrial and extraterrestrial vehicles, Tractive performance
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1243/09544070JAUTO811
Journal Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering
Citation
Wong, J.Y, & Asnani, V.M. (2008). Study of the correlation between the performances of lunar vehicle wheels predicted by the Nepean wheeled vehicle performance model and test data. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering, 222(11), 1755–1770. doi:10.1243/09544070JAUTO811