, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
A friction measurement system was developed for Hennepin County and installed on a snowplow in its winter road maintenance fleet. The major components of the developed system were a special instrumented wheel, a pneumatic pressure-controlled cylinder, a force-measurement load cell and accelerometers, and a data processing micro-processor and LCD display. The project plan initially included interfacing the friction measurement system with an applicator, incorporating automatic control of the applicator upon detection of a low tire-road friction coefficient on the road. However, because of concerns from Hennepin County about interfacing with the applicator electronics and its potential influence on the normal operation of the Force America applicator, the friction coefficient was estimated in real-time and only displayed for the snowplow operator rather than being used for real-time control of the applicator. The stand-alone hardware developed in this project is serving as a platform for developing and installing friction measurement systems on two snowplows in Polk County during the 2012-2013 winter. The Polk County installation was funded by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board.