Lessons learned from design, analysis, and rehabilitation of wheel and track systems

July 18, 2018

Many radio telescopes, radar antennas, and enclosures for optical telescopes use wheel-on-track systems for their azimuth rotations. Design of such systems requires properly understanding of the contact behavior between the wheel and the azimuth track as the wheel rolls forward. Unless the azimuth track has a continuous running surface, one needs to understand how the track joints will affect the contact stress. In the case of multi-layer track systems where the track segments consist of wear plates mounted on base plates, finite element analyses are needed to capture friction and slip, and opening and closing of gaps at the interfaces between the wheel, wear plate, and the base plate. The paper presents lessons learned from the design, analysis, and rehabilitation of a few wheel-on-track systems. The paper discusses (1) how geometry of the wheel, geometry of the track, stiffness of the wheel bogie, and alignment will affect the contact stress, (2) how to evaluate possible impact load at track joints, (3) what design criteria should be used for strength and fatigue at the wheel/track contact, and (4) how wear between wear plate and base plate can be evaluated.

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