A high-fidelity multibody dynamics model for simulating a backhoe digging operation is presented. The backhoe components including: frame, manipulator, track, wheels and sprockets are modeled as rigid bodies. The soil is modeled using cubic shaped particles for simulating sand with appropriate inter-particle normal and frictional forces. A penalty technique is used to impose both joint and normal contact constraints (including track-wheels, track-terrain, bucket-particles and particles-particles contact). An asperity-based friction model is used to model joint and contact friction. A Cartesian Eulerian grid contact search algorithm is used to allow fast contact detection between particles. A recursive bounding box contact search algorithm is used to allow fast contact detection between polygonal contact surfaces. The governing equations of motion are solved along with joint/constraint equations using a time-accurate explicit solution procedure. The model can help improve the performance of construction equipment by predicting the actuator and joint forces and the vehicle stability during digging for various vehicle design alternatives.

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