Granular scaling laws for helically driven dynamics

Andrew Thoesen, Teresa McBryan, Darwin Mick, Marko Green, Justin Martia, Hamid Marvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Exploration of granular physics for three-dimensional geometries interacting with deformable media is crucial for further understanding of granular mechanics and vehicle-terrain dynamics. A modular screw propelled vehicle is, therefore, designed for testing the accuracy of a novel helical granular scaling law in predicting vehicle translational velocity and power. A dimensional analysis is performed on the vehicle and screw pontoons. Two additional pontoon pairs of increased size and mass are determined from dimensional scalars. The power and velocity of these larger pairs are predicted by the smaller pair using the scaling relationships. All three sets are subjected to ten trials of five angular velocities ranging from 13.7 to 75.0 revolutions per minute in a high interlock lunar regolith analog derived from mining tailings. Experimental agreement for prediction of power (3-9% error) and translational velocity (2-12% error) are observed. A similar set of geometries is subjected to multibody dynamics and discrete element method cosimulations of Earth and lunar gravity to verify a gravity-dependent subset of the scaling laws. These simulations show agreement (under 5% error for all sets) and support law validity for gravity between Earth and lunar magnitude. These results support further expansion of granular scaling models to enable prediction for vehicle-terrain dynamics for a variety of environments and geometries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032902
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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