Accession Number:



SnowMicroPenetrometer Applications for Winter Vehicle Mobility

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Technical Report

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Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.) Hanover United States

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The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory CRREL provides cold regions research and development in support of the US military and the nation. For winter military operations this support includes vehicle mobility modeling over snow. Many factors relate to vehicle performance, fuel efficiency and operation efficiency, including the vehicle specifications and the land surface conditions. Comprehending snow macromechanical characteristics such as elastic modulus, stiffness, and strength is critical in understanding how effectively a vehicle will travel over snow covered terrain. Vehicle instrumentation data inertial measurement units and vehicle telemetry and observations of the snow pack both satellite and ground-based are leveraged to improve the modeled index for winter vehicle performance. Currently, the available mobility models are physically-based and consider numerous factors related to cross country mobility such as slope, soil type, terrain strength, land classification and vegetation. The algorithms related to the impact of snow, however, are driven by snow depth and bulk snow density alone. This research deployed a SnowMicroPenetrometer SMP whose capabilities were expanded to measure several types of snow, including virgin snow, vehicle tracked snow and processed or groomed snow roads. The SMP high-resolution snow structural profiles show the value of the instrument as a tool for mobility studies. Correlation analysis was conducted between the SMP and Rammsonde penetrometer using median values from different snow types at a particular site. The data express a trend that rupture force, penetration force, density, strength, and ram hardness increases when the snow is deformed by the vehicles. Instrument modifications were assessed with recommendations made to further improve SMP performance for use in mobility studies.

Subject Categories:

  • Surface Transportation and Equipment

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