Tracked Vehicle Dynamics Modeling and Simulation Methodology

Many Army vehicles require tracks in order to meet the tough mobility requirements for the Army mission profile. Modeling and Simulation (M&S) provides a large cost-savings and offers a quick turnaround when addressing vehicle performance issues. Once a baseline model is built for a given system, the model can be changed quickly to address different load or usage profiles and to determine the overall affect on the vehicle and its performance. Tracked vehicles present a number of challenges, however, due to the large number of interactions between all the track and suspension components. Prior methods for analyzing tracked vehicle performance through M&S led to either simplified vehicle models or very long compute times due to the level of detail required to properly model tracked vehicles. RecurDyn offers a number of potential benefits by using a recursive dynamic formulation which takes advantage of the fact that every track shoe is the same and that each track segment is connected to one another in the same manner. The software exploits this symmetry to greatly reduce model development times, complexity, and computational run times. RecurDyn features a user-friendly, graphical user interface (GUI), or front end, and a track-building toolkit (a.k.a. Trackbuilder). This front end saves time building the models by eliminating repeated processes, allowing the user to define one track segment and repeat it around the track loop. The software package also includes a built-in control program called CoLink, which can be used to control and drive vehicle models. A methodology and library of standard templates were developed by the author to enhance the usability of RecurDyn specific to tracked vehicles. The end result is a dramatic decrease in tracked vehicle model build and run times, which in many cases makes simulation a faster, more cost effective option than the build-test-break-fix-test cycle of the past. These methodologies and templates are intended to serve as a reference for future TARDEC engineers learning to model tracked vehicles. To date, these templates include: path following terrain profiles, NATO double lane change, side slopes, performance on grades, and steady state turning circles. Additional events will be programmed as needed and added to the library. The final conclusion of this effort is that RecurDyn is both useful and powerful, and that RecurDyn may be the future for 3-Dimensional multi-body dynamics M&S work for tracked vehicles. Read more here: