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Rubber track systems for conventional tractors – Effects on soil compaction and traction

Rubber track systems for conventional tractors – Effects on soil compaction and traction

Soil and Tillage Research 117(none): 103-109

Traditionally, tractors have been built either for tracks or wheels, with tracks mainly on heavy tractors with high power. Today, it is possible to retrofit four separate track units on a conventional agricultural tractor, creating interesting possibilities for agriculture. The objective of the present study was to compare soil compaction and traction for tracks, single and dual wheels mounted on the same tractor type. Measurements were made on two clay soils (Eutric Cambisols) in Sweden in 29, using an 85 kW tractor with a total weight of 77 kg. The rubber track system consisted of four tracks mounted on the conventional wheel axles of the tractor. The measured stresses were similar for the tracks and dual wheels at all depths studied (15, 3 and 5 cm), but were considerably higher for the single wheels at all depths. Simulations of soil stresses correlated closely to measured values for the tracks and the dual wheels, but underestimated soil stresses in the topsoil compared to measured values for the single wheel. Bulk density and penetration resistance were consistently highest and saturated hydraulic conductivity lowest after wheeling with single wheels, while there were no statistically significant differences between tracks and dual wheels. With single wheels and the tractor loaded, saturated hydraulic conductivity decreased to .1 m hfrom .13 m hin the control, while bulk density increased from 1.24 to 1.36 Mg m. The stress distribution in the driving direction was relatively even along the front and rear tracks, which is an advantage compared with a long single track, which often has an uneven longitudinal stress distribution. Slip was significantly higher for the dual and single wheels compared with tracks. To utilise the large contact area of the tracks, the tractor should have a low weight in relation to the engine power.Small differences in soil stress in the topsoil and subsoil between tracks and dual wheels, but much higher for single wheels. Small differences in soil penetration resistance and bulk density in the topsoil between tracks and dual wheels, but much higher for single wheels. Good correlation between measured and simulated soil stresses. Highest traction with tracks and lowest with single wheels..

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Accession: 036239354

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DOI: 10.1016/j.still.2011.09.004

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