Meta-Material Design for Tank Track Pads

Principal Investigator: Georges Fadel, Clemson University,
Faculty: Gang Li, Nicole Coutris, Clemson University
Student: Neehar Kulkarni, Zachary Satterfield, Clemson University
Government: Matt Castanier, David Ostberg, Bill Bradford, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Joshua Goossens, Tenneco
Christopher Cardine, General Dynamics Land Systems

Tank track thermal imageTank track elastomeric pads have been under investigation for many years because of their high rate of failure. Improving this component design would increase military vehicle reliability, reduce maintenance costs and time. From recent work focusing on understanding damage mechanisms, it was observed that the temperature of the wheel and pad elastomer increases up to 250-300oF. The high temperature increase may be attributed to the hysteretic property of elastomeric material. The dynamic cyclic loading during vehicle motion results in substantial energy dissipation inside the elastomer and consequent temperature rise.

The objective is to substitute the elastomeric material with an elastic material which does not suffer from hysteretic losses. Elastomers are highly compliant and therefore used in the track pad; however, they have relatively high loss coefficients. Elastic materials (such as metals) have lower loss coefficients but are stiffer due to higher Young’s moduli.

The ideal design solution would require a material with low loss coefficient and high compliance. This tradeoff can be achieved by tailoring meta-materials to target these properties. Meta-materials are materials designed for specific applications. Classic examples are honeycomb structures whose macro scale elastic properties depend on their geometry and material. The meta-material property of honeycomb is different from the elastic properties of its base material. The challenge is then defining the optimal meta-material structure that achieves the desired properties.


  • Manuscript under preparation – Satterfield, Z., Kulkarni, N., Li, G., Fadel, G.M. and Coutris, N., "Design of a titanium based metamaterial to mimic the behavior or Rubber butadiene in compression" to be submitted to ASME Journal of Mechanical Design.


  • Czech, C., Guarneri, P., Gibert, J., Fadel, G.M., “On the accurate analysis of linear elastic meta-material properties for use in design optimization problems”, Composite Science & Technology, 72(5):580-586, 2011.
  • Czech, C., Guarneri, P., Wiecek, M.M., Fadel, G.M., “Optimality conditions for topology optimization problems targeting meta-material properties”, Submitted to Computers & Structures, 2012.
  • Czech, C., Guarneri, P., Fadel, G.M., “Meta-material design of the shear layer of a non-pneumatic wheel using topology optimization”, ASME DETC12 conference proceedings, paper DETC2012-71340.
  • Czech, C., Guarneri, P., Fadel, G.M., “Using non-simply connected unit cells in the multiscale analysis of meta-materials”, accepted to 12th AIAA/ATIO Conference and 14th AIAA/ISSMO MAO Conference, 2012.