Wheel / terrain interaction
Unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) are designed to operate under difficult terrain conditions without an onboard human presence. As a result they have potential applications in mining, defense, and space exploration where it is costly or dangerous to have a human operator. However, complex particle interactions of granular terrain at the wheel interface can lead to difficulty in maneuverability, even to the point of rendering a costly vehicle as irretrievable in extreme environments.
The PFTL performs experiments and modeling of granular dynamics and flow interaction entrained between rotating interfaces. This is with the focus of understanding the interaction of a granular media in terms of friction, slip, and kinetic energy.