Using an in-house developed nodule collector designed for operating on the thin and soft sediment of the seabed, completed with track systems, hydraulic power system and travelling speed control system, no-load land-based experiments, no-load underwater experiments, and travelling experiments in a pool were performed; The data of the experiments were collected to analyze the track's dynamic parameters. The analysis results show that the mechanical resistance power accounts for a significant proportion (40.2%), the paddling resistance power being quite small (5.3%) and the output power (i.e. track transmission efficiency) is found to be 54.5%, which reflects the overall transmission efficiency of the track and can be used as an indicator for evaluating the characteristics of track transmission.
With the increasing demand for metal resources and the continuous depletion of terrestrial mineral resources, seabed mineral resources are becoming the alternative resources for human beings in the 21st century. Because these seabed mineral resources are found in deep sea, they are also referred to as deep sea mineral resources(Liu, Liu and Dai, 2014). Polymetallic nodules, one of these resources and of great importance, are rich in metal elements such as iron, manganese, nickel, and copper, and found in the seabed sediments of the world's oceans with a depth of 4500-6000m. The total reserve is estimated at 3 trillion tons(Ding, Gao,2006). Currently, the International Seabed Authority is stepping up the formulation of rules and regulations for the exploitation of seabed mineral resources, while countries around the world are also ramping up their research and development of deep-sea mining equipment.
The collecting system is the primary process in the whole polymetallic nodule mining system, and the collecting vehicle is the most important equipment in the entire system. During the "9th Five-Year Plan" period of China, it designed a prototype mining truck and conducted a comprehensive maneuver experiment under a water depth of 130 m at Fuxian Lake in Yunnan in 2001 to collect simulated polymetallic nodules. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, Changsha Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy developed the Kunlong 500 collector, and carried out a maneuver and collection experiment under a water depth of 500 meters in the South China Sea. During the 13th Five-Year Plan of China, National Key R&D Program is developing a 3,500-meter-level polymetallic nodule mining vehicle and plans to conduct a kilometer-level offshore test in the South China Sea. In other countries, a prototype of a tracked mining machine was developed by the Korean Maritime & Ocean Engineering Research Institute/KIOST in 2010 (Cho, Park and Choi, 2013), with a size of about 5%-10% of the commercial mining machine, the length, width and height being 5m×4m×3m, and the weight being about 9t. The Belgian GSR Program used the Patania II prototype in 2019 to conduct mining trials in polymetallic nodule mining areas (Global Sea Mineral Resource NV, 2018).