Predicting wheel forces using bearing capacity theory for general planar loads

J. P. Hambleton*, S. A. Stanier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


This paper assesses the applicability of bearing capacity theory for evaluating the forces generated on wheels operating on clay under steady rolling conditions. Considering advances in bearing capacity theory, in particular the interaction diagrams developed for general loading, a theoretical model for computing the horizontal force or torque from fundamental input parameters such as the vertical force (weight), wheel diameter, and undrained shear strength of the soil is presented. The predictions are compared with existing analytical solutions and data from laboratory testing, and reasonable agreement is demonstrated. The newly proposed model provides a means to predict wheel forces analytically under any operating condition (driven, braked, or towed), provided the contact length and so-called contact angle, which defines the position of the contact interface, can be estimated. The model provides a rigorous, convenient framework for evaluating wheel forces under arbitrary loading and enables a natural physical interpretation of the mobility problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
Journal[No source information available]
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Bearing capacity
  • Clay
  • Interaction diagrams
  • Mobility
  • Soil-wheel interaction
  • Yield envelopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fuel Technology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanical Engineering

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