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Finite element analysis of periodic ripple formation under rigid wheels

Shingo Ozaki, Kosuke Hinata, Carmine Senatore, Karl Iagnemma  
Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 61, October 2015, Pages 11-22, ISSN 0022-4898,
In recent years, various numerical simulation methods have been applied to vehicle terrain interaction problems. In this study, the formation of periodic ripples under a rigid wheel was investigated within the framework of finite element (FE) analysis. First, the capability of FEM to analyze periodic ripple formation was demonstrated under relatively low slippage. Then, a hypothesis for the generation mechanism of periodic ripples was provided: periodic ripples are formed under conditions in which clear local failure zones occur and soil is translated vertically via wheel shear deformation action. Furthermore, the characteristics of ripple periodicity (i.e. ripple pitch and period) were discussed. It was also revealed that ripple formation has an impact on the multi-pass scenario for lightweight small vehicles.  
Keywords: FEM; Wheel–soil interaction; Plasticity; Friction; Multi-pass effect