Publication news

Development of a machine integrated strain-based contact force sensor for pad foot soil compactors

Shawn C. Kimmel, Rick G. Bearce, Robert V. Rinehart, Michael A. Mooney
Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 51, February 2014, Pages 31-41, ISSN 0022-4898,
Abstract: An investigation was undertaken to explore the use of measurable pad strains on a non-vibratory pad foot roller to provide real time continuous evidence of compaction and contact force. Individual pads were instrumented with strain gages in a pattern chosen based on pad finite element analysis (FEA). Different pad–soil contact stress distributions were modeled to simulate a range of soil conditions. The FEA revealed that the contact stress distribution has a significant influence on the observed pad strain field, suggesting soil specific interpretation of pad strains in order to determine contact force. Results from uniaxial laboratory testing of pad loading on dry sand verified the FEA, i.e., experimental strains generally matched within 15% of FEA strains. The contact stress distribution was measured using tactile pressure sensors and found to be moderately parabolic. A soil specific empirical calibration factor relating vertical sidewall strains to contact force was determined. Field testing was performed on the dry sand with multiple instrumented pads installed on a Caterpillar CP56 roller. Pad strain magnitudes increased up to 250% during compaction from repeated passes of the roller. Using the empirical calibration factor, the estimated contact force was shown to increase with compaction, represented by the independently-measured soil unit weight.
Keywords: Soil compaction; Contact stress; Strain; Force measurement; Pad; Finite element; Performance assessment