April 2010

The field of Terramechanics deals with the mechanical behavior of the earth’s surface subjected to vehicle and machinery loads. In most cases the natural surface is soil, although vehicle movement over snow cover or ice also falls into this area. Professor Andrew Drescher (Civil Engineering, MSI Associate Fellow) and Ph.D. student Jim Hambleton use MSI to perform extensive simulations to investigate how wheel-induced soil deformation is influenced by material type, layering, wheel geometry, loading, and interface friction at the soil-wheel interface. The image above shows a graphical representation of a wheel rolling over soft soil. An article about this research will appear in the Spring 2010 issue of the MSI Research Bulletin.