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Advanced Materials Research Vol.

1036 (2014) pp 499-504

(2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland

Simulating the Longitudinal Dynamics of a

Tracked Vehicle
Octavian ALEXA1,a*, Marin MARINESCU1,b, Marian TRU1,c, Radu VILU1,d
& Valentin VNTURI1,e

Military Technical Academy, Faculty of Mechatronics and Integrated Systems for Armament, Dept.
of Military Automotive and Transportation, Bd. George Cosbuc nr. 39-49, sector 5, Bucharest
050141, Romania


Keywords: simulation, torque converter, powertrain, mathematical models.

The simulation procedure has always been considered as a giant leap forward, especially in the field
of basic designing of a product. There is nothing new underneath the basic concept, but the
scientific and technical progress always brings up new techniques that improve simulation in its
When we talk about a vehicle, especially about a military one, we consider that it is much cheaper
to simulate a process involving the weapon system than performing countless tests that are rather
expensive. In this respect, we tried to develop a simulation mathematical model, check its accuracy
with a set of extensive tests, prove it reliability and further extrapolate the behavior of the simulated
model to a larger number of military vehicles of the same kind. It could help in various fields, such
as diagnose (by comparing the simulated results with the real ones got from a faulty vehicle) or
automatically regulating some functions (an intelligent vehicle, having an implemented, simulated
model, that is able to feel the status of a subsystem in real time and regulate its behavior,
Hence, the paper presents a model that simulates the longitudinal dynamics of a tracked vehicle. It
has been issued using Simulink module of Matlab programming environment. It aims at pointing
out the performances of the vehicle. The models interface is friendly and its structure is modular.
The main modules of the model are the engine, the torque converter, the transmission and the track.
The engine and the torque converter are modeled using the experimental maps obtained by the tests
that have been previously developed by the manufacturer. The main principle of the equations that
describe the system is to set a balance among the forces (both active and resistive) that load the
vehicle. The inputs of the model are the technical and dimensional features, provided by the
manufacturer or experimentally determined.
The output of the model is a dynamic behavior. Comparing the results with the experimental data
eventually validates or invalidates the model. But the results were excellent, so the model was
validated. Also, the results proved that the developed model is able to predict the performances of
the take-off stage of the tracked vehicle.
Determining the longitudinal dynamic features of the military automotive (either wheeled or
tracked) by simulating a virtual model, lately became a wide spread field of interest. Using virtual
models came up with certain advantages, especially due to their cost savings, both human and
Many authors have proved their interest in creating simulating programs of automotive
dynamics. We can cite here Cho D. and J.K. Hedrick [1]. They developed a model using the
Simulink-Matlab module, which is able to simulate the dynamic behavior of Diesel engine powered
vehicle with a hydro-mechanical transmission. The model got its validation by comparing the test

All rights reserved. No part of contents of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of TTP, (ID:,08:53:24)


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and simulated results. Tomas Zackrisson [2] built up a model based on Modelica simulation
software, also simulating the dynamic behavior of a vehicle with a hydro-mechanical transmission.
The model we introduce in this paper was developed using MathWorks-Matlab, mainly the
Simscape and Simulink modules. Simscape module is a powerful modeling instrument. Throughout
its programming language, the physical components of the modeled system mutually interact and
allow the power flow to be transferred from one component to another. The main components of the
model (the engine, the torque converter, the planetary gearbox, the final transmission, as well as the
track-ground component) eventually simulate the main subsystems of the military tracked vehicle,
the Main Battle Tank (MBT) TR85 M1 [3]. The engine and the torque converter were developed
using Simscape and Simulink modules, starting from experimental data [4]. The final component of
the virtual model was built up in Simscape-Matlab by writing the equations that describe the energy
conservation and the torque balance laws. The rest of the transmission was developed with the preexistent blocks of the Simscape-Matlab library.
The simulating model has its input as the experimental data provided by the manufacturer, i.e.
the main mass and size features of the vehicle [4]. The output of the virtual model provides the time
histories of the main dynamic characteristics. We achieved the validation of our model by
comparing its output with some previously achieved experimental data.
Developing the simulating model
The simulating model aimed at describing the previously mentioned MBT, which is powered by
the 8VS-A2T2M Diesel engine. It has a THM-800 hydro-mechanical transmission, a steering
mechanism and tracked propelling system. Since the model has a modular structure, we easily can
improve it in the future. Moreover, inside-structure information about the power flow becomes
available. The main components of the model were developed starting from the real features of the
vehicle (according to the manufacturer data) [3].
Simulating the 8VS-A2T2M engine
This engine is a V8, Diesel one. Its main features are: maximum output 632.52 kW @ 2300 rpm,
maximum torque 2890 Nm @ 1760 rpm and angular speed ranging from 800 to 2550 rpm [4].
The model is depicted in Fig. 1. It was
achieved by interconnecting the specific
blocks of the Simscape standard library, such
as: lookup table, ideal torque source,
mechanical rotational reference, ideal
rotational motion sensor and different
components of the physical signals library.
The output of the ideal torque source
component looks like a power flow featured
by a torque (M) and an angular speed ().
The lookup table block provides a linear or
a Spline interpolation of the experimental
data [4]. The engines speed is the input while
the torque is the output.
Fig. 1 Engines simulating module
Simulating the THM 800 transmission
According to its diagram [4], the THM 800 transmission has an entry gearing between the
engine and the torque converter (simulated as a gearing block), a torque converter, an inverter, a
planetary gearbox, a steering mechanism and two summing planetary mechanisms (left-right).
The gearing was simulated with Simscape, using the Simple Gear block of the SimDriveline
library. Since the inverter is not working when the vehicle is moving forward, it was not simulated.

Advanced Materials Research Vol. 1036


Also, no simulation was needed for the steering mechanism (we modeled only the forward, straight
Simulating the CHC 420-CML torque converter
The torque converter delivers the engine power to the vehicles transmission. It can be
assimilated to a hydraulic coupling, allowing the engine running independently from the rest of the
driveline. It consists of a pump, a turbine, a diffuser and a locking clutch.
The performance parameters of the torque converter are its torque ratio (Kh), its torque
absorption coefficient (K) and its reverted transmission ratio (ih). Their definition relations are given
by [5]:
ih =
K h = Ht K =
M Hp
M Hp
where (nt) [rpm] and (np) [rpm] are the turbines and the pumps angular speeds, while (MHt) [Nm]
and (MHp) [Nm] are the turbines and the pumps torque respectively.
We used experimental data to feed the model with respect to the variation of the torque ratio and
torque absorption coefficient versus the reverted transmission ratio [4]. The experimental data
provided by the manufacturer describes the working parameters of the torque converter and its
abilities to transfer the power flow. The model emphasizes the mutual work of the engine and the
torque converter with respect to the output delivered to the rest of the transmission (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Torque converters simulating module

We found ourselves in need to use a continuous variation of the torque converters performance
parameters versus the reverted transmission ratio. Thus, we chose to interpolate the experimental
data using the Lookup Table block of the Simscape Physical Signals library. The Disk Friction
Clutch block of the same library gives the model of the locking clutch.
Simulating the planetary gearbox
The gearbox consists of 3 planetary trains. Different gears are achieved by successively locking
its different friction elements (brakes or clutches). There are 3 equations describing the work of a
planetary gearbox: Willis equation, torque balance equation and torque distribution law [6]:
sun + K ring (1 + K ) carier = 0 M sun + M ring + M carrier = 0 M ring = K M sun .


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The model that simulates the gearbox is issued in Simscape by using the predefined blocks of the
SimDriveline library (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 Gearboxs simulating module

The friction elements are engaged by delivering oil pressure in their cylinders. To simulating it
we provided an input signal with the help of the Signal Builder block of Simulink. The block was
designed starting from the time needed to shift the gears in real life [4].

Simulating the final transmission

The final transmission consists of the
two summing mechanisms and the two
output gearing mechanisms. They
deliver the power to the vehicles tracks.
Eventually, they are just simple
planetary mechanisms consisting of sun
gears, rings and carriers. Their work is
defined by Willis equation and the
torque balance law [6]. We modeled
them also using the predefined blocks of
the Simscape library (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4 - Final transmissions simulating module

Building the terrain-propeller-vehicle component. Integrating the components into the

vehicles simulating model
The equation that provides the foundation of this component, as a part of the general model of
the vehicle, is the traction balance equation [7]:
Ft = Rpr + Rs + R + Ra + R .
According to it, the traction force received by the sprocket wheel has to be able to meet all the
dragging forces acting upon the vehicle (the slope drag R, the air drag Ra, the inertia R, the ground
deformation Rs and the propellers drag Rpr).

Advanced Materials Research Vol. 1036


The transient torque ( M r ) of the sprocket wheel can be obtained by applying the torque balance
law and the energy conservation law on the engine-transmission-sprocket wheel driveline. The
equations are:
dnp dv
I pr dv
M r = Ft rrm cd cd ITR + I EP Kh
M r = Fp rrm +
+ Rpr Fp = Rs + R + Ra + ( M a + ms )


dnt dt

rrm dt


where ( M r ) is the transient torque at

the sprocket wheel, (IEP) is the
equivalent inertia moment at the torque
converters input shaft, (ITR) is the
equivalent inertia moment at the
sprocket wheels shaft, (Ipr) is the
equivalent inertia moment of the
propeller, (rrm) is the sprocket wheel
rolling radius, (icd) is the transmission
ratio, ( Fp ) is the transient (dynamic) Fig. 5 Terrain, propeller and vehicle body module
propulsion force, (cd) is the transmission efficiency, (Ma) is the vehicles mass and (ms) is the
tracks mass (Fig. 5).
The transient (dynamic) propulsion force is balanced by the tangential reaction and helps at
defeating the global drag and, partially, the inertia (R).
The specific simulating modules are connected to each other via Simscape connecting elements,
obtaining the final model as depicted in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6 - Virtual simulating model of the TR85M1 MBT tracked vehicle

Validating the simulating model

When issuing the simulating model (Fig. 6) we assumed some simplifying hypothesis like the
engine is always working at its full capacity, the running ground is hard and flat and the vehicles
motion is linear and accelerated.


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To validating the model we

compared its results to the
experimental ones [8]. During the
tests, the driver kept the full throttle
recommended by the manufacturer.
Fig. 7 depicts on the same picture the
experimental and modeled vehicles
taking-off data.
Had Fig. 7 being analyzed, one
could notice that the time history of
the actual vehicles speed almost
overlaps the simulated curve of the
taking-off test.
Fig. 7 - Model validation

The simulating model has been conceived to analyze the power flow structure. It is able to
estimate and graphically represent the time histories of the torque and angular speed at the inputs
and outputs of every major components of the vehicles power plant.
Considering the accuracy of the data that have been obtained by simulation we can say that the
model we introduced in this paper is a valid one. Nevertheless, it can be further improved, aiming at
getting even finer models of the vehicles power plant.

[1] Cho, D. and J.K. Hedrick, Automotive powertrain modeling for control. Journal of Dynamic
Systems, Measurement and Control, Transactions of the ASME, 1989, 111(4), pp. 568576;
[2] Tomas Zackrisson, Modeling and simulation of a driveline with an automatic gearbox, Masters
Thesis, IRRTEX0320, 2003;
[3] Information on:;
[4] Liviu LOGHIN, Contribuii privind studiul proceselor ce au loc la schimbarea etajelor n
transmisiile hidromecanice ale autovehiculelor militare cu enile, PhD Thesis, Publishing House of
the Military Technical Academy, 2005;
[5] Drago COSTACHE, Transmisii hidraulice pentru autovehicule, Publishing House of the
Military Technical Academy, 2002;
[6] Ticuor CIOBOTARU, Lucian GRIGORE, Valentin VNTURI i Liviu LOGHIN, Transmisii
planetare pentru autovehicule militare, Publishing House of the Military Technical Academy, 2005;
[7] Mihai GORIANU, Mecanica autovehiculelor cu roi i enile, Publishing House of the Military
National University, 1992;
[8] Information on: Testing Bulletin from laboratory LACEBAT, Military Technical Academy.