On modeling a rolling wheel in the presence of plastic deformation as a three- or two-dimensional process

J. P. Hambleton, A. Drescher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper compares predictions of deformation and horizontal (drag) force resulting from three- and two-dimensional numerical simulation of a torque-free (towed) wheel operating on ductile material. The finite-element code ABAQUS/Explicit is used to simulate a complete process beginning with wheel indentation and ending, if admissible, with steady rolling. The wheel is rigid, and the material is modeled as elastic/perfectly plastic with the von Mises yield condition, with focus on plastic rather than elastic effects. It is shown that two-dimensional analysis of a rolling wheel cannot readily be applied to a narrow wheel to predict wheel penetration, although horizontal forces from three- and two- dimensional simulations follow a similar trend. In particular, it is observed that steady-state penetration is constant over a range of applied vertical forces in the two-dimensional analysis, whereas steady-state penetration is an increasing function of vertical force for narrow wheels simulated in three dimensions. This illustrates potential errors in simplifying wheel rolling by utilizing two-dimensional analysis and the necessity of considering a fully three-dimensional process. In the paper, the latter is investigated in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-855
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Finite-element method
  • Force
  • Penetration
  • Plastic
  • Rolling wheel
  • Three-dimensional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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