While in nature, snow properties change from day to day or even minute by minute, one of the great advantages of lab tests is the stability and reproducibility of testing conditions. In our labs at the Institute of Dynamics and Vibration Research, Leibniz Universität Hannover, we currently run three test rigs that are able to conduct tests with tire tread blocks on snow and ice tracks [1,2]: High-Speed Linear Tester (HiLiTe) [3], Portable Friction Tester (PFT), and Reproducible Tread Block Mechanics in Lab (RepTiL). In the past years, we have run a project on the influence of snow track properties on friction and traction test results with those test rigs. In this article, we will present a first excerpt of the results concentrating on the RepTiL test rig. Because this rig reproduces the movement of rolling tire tread blocks [2], we executed a test campaign with special samples for the analysis of snow friction mechanics. We evaluated penetration into the snow, maximum longitudinal force level, and longitudinal force gradient. On the other hand, we varied the snow density while preparing our tracks to assess the influence of the snow track density on the friction mechanics. In parallel, we have accompanied our experiments with discrete element method simulations to better visualize and understand the physics behind the interaction between snow and samples. The simulation shows the distribution of induced stress within the snow tracks and resulting movement of snow particles. Hypotheses for the explanation of the friction behavior in the experiments were confirmed. Both tests and simulations showed, with good agreement, a strong influence of snow density and sample geometry.

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