Multibody dynamics and the discrete element method are integrated into one solver for modeling the excavation and moving operation of cohesive soft soil (such as mud and snow) by bulldozers. A soft cohesive soil material model (that includes normal and tangential inter-particle force models) is presented that can account for soil flow, compressibility, plasticity, fracture, friction, viscosity, gain in cohesive strength due to compression, and loss in cohesive strength due to tension. Multibody dynamics techniques are used to model the various bulldozer components and connect those components using various types of joints and contact surfaces. A penalty technique is used to impose joint and normal contact constraints. 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 the particles and polygonal contact surfaces. The governing equations of motion are solved along with joint/constraint equations using a time-accurate explicit solution procedure. A numerical simulation of a bulldozer performing a shallow digging operation in a cohesive mud-type soil is presented to demonstrate the integrated solver. The solver can be used to improve the design of the various bulldozer components such as the blade geometry, tire design, and track design.

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