Join us for the next NLSI Director’s Seminar!

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:00AM PST, 17:00 UTC

Presenter: Jerome Johnson, PhD. University of Alaska, Fairbanks.


Excavation and Mobility Modeling of lunar regolith as part of the Scientific Exploration Potential of the Lunar Poles Project.

Webinar abstract

The “Excavation and Mobility Modeling” task of the Scientific Exploration Potential of the Lunar Poles project is to develop physically based discrete element method (DEM) models of the interaction of wheeled mobility platforms and excavation tools with lunar regolith at the poles and elsewhere. The DEM explicitly models the dynamics of assemblies of particles, such as regolith (the layer of loose rock particles covering bedrock). It is particularly useful when a material undergoes large-scale discontinuous deformations that depend on micro-scale contact processes, internal breakage of contact bonds, and compaction of broken fragments, such as occur during excavation and mobility processes. The goal is to develop a DEM modeling capability that is usable by non-specialists and that can be configured to accurately simulate a wide range of applied and basic science and engineering problems beyond the current focus on mobility and excavation problems. For example, asteroid properties and processes, volatile migration in regolith, impact weather of crater walls and other problems that involve contact processes of particulate materials. Experimental data describing measurement of the geotechnical properties of lunar regolith, the interaction between wheels and regolith, and excavation interactions with regolith are being used to guide development of, and to validate the DEM models. Of particular interest is percussive excavation, which can greatly reduce the mass requirements of excavation machines on the moon. DEM modeling capabilities have progressed to the stage that accurate simulations of wheel digging tests for laboratory and Mars experiments have been completed. Simulations are also underway for percussive excavation, penetration and bevameter tests in JSC-1A lunar simulant. DEM simulation results demonstrate the importance of accurately representing regolith shape characteristics. CT scanning technology is being used to construct 3-d digital particles of JSC-1A. The COUPI DEM is undergoing beta testing at Glenn Research Center and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. The next phases of development are to configure COUPI to run on a range of computer platforms from laptops to massively parallel supercomputers. The webinar will present further details about project progress, results, and planned future work.

Dr. Johnson is a research professor and director of the Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with over 30 years experience in basic and applied research to solve problems related to snow, ice, frozen ground, marine and river ice environments, granular media, and space sciences. He leads the Excavation and Mobility task within the Scientific and Exploration Potential of the Lunar Poles NLSI supported project. He holds three patents, was a scientific editor for the Journal of Glaciology and is a founding member of the International Society for Terrain Vehicle Systems (ISTVS) Technical Group on Planetary & Terrestrial Rovers. Recent activities include studies on the Tanana River hydrokinetic energy potential, using impact penetrators to determine soil properties, Mars Exploration Rover wheel interaction with mars soil, and methods to estimate snow water equivalent. Dr. Johnson has over 80 publications.

Participation Instructions:


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Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
source: NLSI

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