Shape effects of wheel grousers on traction performance on sandy terrain

Kenji Nagaoka, Kazumasa Sawada, Kazuya Yoshida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the effects of different wheel grouser shapes on the traction performance of a grouser wheel traveling on sandy terrain. Grouser wheels are locomotion gears that allow small and lightweight exploration rovers to traverse on the loose sand on extraterrestrial surfaces. Although various grouser shapes have been analyzed by some research groups, a more synthetic and direct comparison of possible grousers is required for practical applications. In this study, we developed a single wheel testbed and experimentally investigated the effects of four grouser shapes (parallel, slanted, V-shaped, and offset V-shaped) on the traction performance of linear movement on flat sand. The wheel slip, sinkage, traction and side force acting on the wheel axle, the wheel driving torque, and the efficiency of each wheel were examined. Thereafter, the effects on the lateral slope traversability of a small and lightweight four-wheeled rover with different grouser shapes were also examined. The traversability experiment demonstrated the vehicle mobility performance in order to contribute to the design optimization of rover systems. These experimental results and their comparisons suggested that, of the shapes studies herein, the slanted shape was the optimal grouser design for use in wheeled rovers on lunar and planetary soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Terramechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug


  • Effect of grouser shapes
  • Exploration rover
  • Grouser wheel
  • Traction performance on sand


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