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Development of Fiber Reinforced Track Pad Materials

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Final rept. May 1983-Apr 1986

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Current tank track designs use rubber pads track pads to enhance traction, vibration isolation, and noise reduction, and to limit damage to paved surfaces. The pads can be made integral with the track as in the M1T156 system, or bonded to steel plates which are then bolted to the track as in the M60T142 system. Typical track pad mileage is far below the mileage between major overhauls. Since replacement of the pads is expensive and time consuming, it is worthwhile to investigate ways of improving the design to increase mileage while maintaining the functions stated above. Failure mechanisms for track pads include abrasion, cutting, chunking, and blowout. All of these are related to hysteresis heating of the rubber, which is due to the cyclic loading of the road wheels on the track. Rubber loses tensile and tear strength rapidly as temperatures is increased. Blowout is due to severe overheating, where the inside of the pad appears to vaporize. Analytical work included a thermal model of a track pad, which quantified the reduction in operating temperature due to reinforcement. It was also used to model the curing process. A fracture mechanics based fatigue model was constructed, to model debonding of the reinforcement as a function of cyclic loading. This showed that the baseline design should maintain a bond for a reasonable mileage, and showed what design changes would be needed to improve performance. Adhesion tests were conducted for a range of rubber compounds and wire types, and likely combinations with high adhesion were identified.

Subject Categories:

  • Couplers, Fasteners and Joints
  • Combat Vehicles

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