This paper provides that the multi-body model of the self-propelled vehicle (SPV) in deep ocean mining system is built by the theory of multi-body system under the respective conditions of flat, slope, trench and obstacle terrain. The mechanical property of seabed sediment in China's mining area is described. The relationship between the shear stress and sediment depth, and the maximum traction force of the SPV are presented. The kinematics simulation software is developed on condition that some traveling resistances are put on the multi-body model. The kinematics simulation results and characteristic of the main part of the SPV under the condition of four different types of terrain are obtained and analysed emphatically. Then, the SPV's reasonable structural design, the stable motion and the pronounced ability to climb slopes, obstacles and trenchs are derived from these analyses.


Within the mining system, a miner collects the accumulating manganese nodules on the deep seabed. The self-propelled vehicle is the carrier for the pick-up unit, the crusher, the hydraulic system, the electronic box, the flexible pipe etc. It is designed to move on the deep seabed. The mining system requires that the SPV has good maneuverability, good trafficability and high reliability so as to ensure normal operation and high efficiency (Li Li, et al., 1997). But the manganese nodules are embedded in a complex seabed structure where there are high pressures, obstacles, slopes and trenches. The sediment on the deep seabed is a kind of silicon soil with very high moisture content, extremely small size grain, an extremely low inner friction angle of about 4º, low shear strength and the significant characteristics of thixotropy (i.e. the minimum agitation will change the sediment from a solid to a liquid) (Conrad G. Welling, 1996).

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