Talk:Continuous track

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Christie suspension[edit]

...Christie suspension uses oversized road wheels and the track simply lies on top of the wheels. The shape of the track as a whole is somewhat banana-like as the track droops onto the wheels after running over the driving wheel and idler.
Chinese Type 62 tank with "Christie" tracks. The driving-wheel is in the back.

This is incorrect. Christie suspension has coil springs inside the vehicle's hull, and was generally replaced by torsion-bar suspension. The Christie designs also used a different method of driving the tracks, and some had a chain drive which could be engaged to run the road wheels, so the tracks could be removed for road travel ("convertible" tanks).

The Soviets abandoned convertible drive after the BT series, adopted torsion-bar suspension in the T-44 and drive sprockets in the T-54. The pictured Chinese tank is a T-54 derivative, which has a torsion-bar suspension and conventional rear drive sprocket. It is in no way Christie.

Crimean War[edit]

Steam powered tractors using a form of caterpillar track were reported in use during the Crimean War in the 1850s.

Reported?? Any more info on this?KAM 00:21, 2 November 2005 (UTC
I agree that there is evidence of a report. What I should have asked is if there is evidence of the use of tracked vehicles in the Crimean War? Surely they would have left more of a trace then mention on a TV show's web site.KAM 15:02, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

It will be engines with Boydell type wheels (e.g. boards fitted to them) these are not tracked vehicls.--Chenab (talk) 11:54, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Live/dead track, slack track[edit]

An anonymous editor recently wrote the edit summary ""Dead track" refers to dry pin tracks, vs "Live track" where the rubber bush causes the link to spring back to a designed angle, return rollers are irrelevant." If this is technically correct, then wouldn't it be the case that live track would not lie slack, so that dead track often corresponds with slack track? It's quite common in a military context to treat the two as a synonym, even though they may not be technically the same. Michael Z. 2006-02-1 16:25 Z

It's complicated. Dead track/live track is fairly simple. With dead track the links are joined by a ordinary steel pin, it functions just like a door hinge, move it to a certain angle and (absent any other forces) it stays there. German, british and soviet tanks of WWII and most construction equipment uses this type. American and most post war western tanks use live track, the pin (well not always a pin) is bonded into the link with rubber, it's springy enough that you can still bend it (or at least the vehicle can) but when the load is taken off it the rubber rotates it back to it's original angle, usually slightly curled up. If you hunt around on the net you can find pictures of Shermans and such where if the track is broken the last few links will actually be held up off the ground because of this.
Now whether you use return rollers or not is a whole other matter T34/Panther/Crusader all dead track, none with return rollers. Centurion/Comet/Stalin all dead track, all with return rollers. Abrams/Leopard/FV423 live track, with return rollers. The M113 uses live track but doesn't have return rollers but I can't think of another that does off the top of my head right now (M551 Sheridan and the FV101 Scorpion might but I'm not sure). The trend is towards the live track/return rollers since you can have more smaller road wheels to distribute the weight of the vehicle, and the rubber bushs extend track life since they eliminate metal on metal contact between the pin and link.
That's correct & the article should be edited to reflect this. DMorpheus (talk) 17:20, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
The Scorpion (and the related FV 100 Series) used ordinary link/hinge tracks with polyethylene bushings in the track plate hinges to reduce noise and improve the ant-friction properties of the hinge in the dry. That's why if you've ever heard them being driven on roads the normal track 'squeaking' is absent and they are comparatively quiet for a tracked AFV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:37, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Ground pressure[edit]

"the ground pressure of a car is equal to the pressure of the air in the tires, perhaps 30 psi (207 kPa)" Is this right? A bicycle has pressure of 100 psi or more with or without a rider yet a bicycle with a rider will obviously sink deeper then a bicycle being pushed. What am I missing? KAM 18:04, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

There are two ways a tire can increase its ground contact area in response to increased weight. One is for the tire to flatten out until the contact area compensates for the increased weight. The other is for the tire to sink into the ground until the contact area compensates for the increased weight. The shape of the tire and the hardness of the ground determine how much of each factor is involved. For car tires on pavement, flattening accounts for almost all of it: try lifting up a car on a jack, and watch how the shape of the tire changes. For bicycle tires on mud, sinking accounts for most of it. --Carnildo 21:25, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

The above statement "the ground pressure of a car is equal to the pressure of the air in the tires, perhaps 30 psi (207 kPa)" is totally incorrect. The ground pressure of a car is the weight of the car divided by the contact area of the tires. For example, if a car weighs 3000 lbs and each tire has a contact area of 4x6 inches, that would equate to 3000 lbs/(4x6)x4 or 31.25psi. This is simplified because the front and rear tires are likely to have different amounts of weight on them, but for this example, it is sufficient. You can actually reduce the ground pressure by reducing the pressure in the tires and increasing the contact area of the tires.

That at least implies that ground pressure has a positive relationship with tire pressure. I've also read somewhere that tire pressure=ground pressure—we need a reference to resolve this. Michael Z. 2006-10-11 17:15 Z
Nonsense, this would mean that a punctured/flat tire with no pressure at all would have zero ground pressure. -- (talk) 22:38, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
With respect, it is nonsense to suggest that the situation with a flat/punctured tyre (or 'tire' if you prefer) is comparable. In that situation the weight is not taken up by the air in the tyre but is resting on the rim. Shropshirechris (talk) 15:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
The tire works in a pretty simple way. First, there is zero-load pressure, provided by tire elasticity. When the wheel is under load, it deforms (flattens in the contact area), thus decreasing the volume and correspondively increasing the pressure. For a vehicle to retain zero vertical acceleration, the vehicle weight must equal the upward force exerted by the pressurized air inside the tire. So a car actually floats on air, which pressure changes with the car's weight.
If we view the Ground-Wheel system, then the tire itself is just a membrane. Pressure on ground is exerted by the air pressure in the tire. So tire pressure doesn't just equal ground pressure - it's simply the same thing. When you measure the pressure of tires on the ground and the pressure inside the tires, you measure the same thing; tires themselves don't exert pressure, it's the air inside what does. CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project|
The ground pressure of a car tire is exactly equal to the air pressure in the tire (give or take the stiffness of the tire material). This is elementary physics -- you should be able to get it from a textbook. --Carnildo 05:32, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that it is true that in most cases air pressure and ground pressure are nearly equal. It is not equal at low pressures and low vehicle weight because some weight is supported by the tire wall as has been pointed out. My guess it that it also does not hold true with low vehicle weight and very high pressure, the example of the road racing bike at 20 lbs weight and 100 psi. In this case the the some of the increase in contact area is due to the rubber deforming. Consider a small steel container (a compressed air tank) with 100 psi air pressure placed on the ground. Only the weight would be considered, not the air pressure inside. On the other hand it seems the weight/contact calculation will always be right. A source would be nice otherwise we are guilty of doing our own research. KAM 13:48, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Can we cite Newton's Laws as the source? Shropshirechris (talk) 15:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Give or take the stiffness of the tire material - this is not trivial!! There is a lot of tension in the tire material that prevents the air from escaping out... and that is a significant portion of the tire pressure inside! Think of it in this way - say a car accelerates off the ramp, and is airborne for a short time. Where is the pressure from the ground? Nowhere! Does this mean the tire explodes? No! Removing line to comply with physics and to prevent people from being misled) (talk) 21:32, 4 April 2009 (UTC)


I've tagged this article OR, mainly because of its total lack of references, but specifically because the part about why tank tracks may be undesirable seems very speculative to me. mgekelly 12:02, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

just delete it citeing OR - it appeared in one huge block by an unregistered user. Alternatively trim it down to a single short paragraph. GraemeLeggett 13:01, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Trimmed most out. GraemeLeggett 10:46, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

General track term[edit]

I think that it would be useful if an encompassing track title could be used at the top of the explanation of tracks. Currently, pages such as Track link here (to caterpillar track), implying a false specificity that excludes belt tracks. Perhaps Track (motorized), could be used to cover all types of tracks, or a better title if anyone can think of one. ENeville 05:16, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Crawler-tread? Track (crawler)? ENeville 05:19, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Nonsense. Kegresse track is just an unusual type of caterpillar track. Please adjust the wording and remove the notices cluttering all of these articles. Michael Z. 2006-10-26 21:49 Z

Unclear wording[edit]

In addition, there may have been up to twice as many Phoenix Centipeed versions of the steam log hauler built under license from Lombard, with vertical instead of horizontal cylinders. In 1903, the founder of Holt Manufacturing, Benjamin Holt, paid Lombard $60,000 for the right to produce vehicles under his patent. There seems to have been an agreement made after Lombard moved to California, but some discrepancy exists as to how this matter was resolved when previous track patents were studied. Popularly, everyone claimed to have been inspired by the dog treadmill used on farms to power the butter churn, etc. to "invent" the crawler on their own, and the more recent the history, the earlier this supposed date of invention seems to get.

How which matter was resolved? The previous sentences talk about agreements, not disputes.

Who is everyone? Did someone dispute Lombard's invention? What does the "more recent the history" sentence mean? Michael Z. 2007-06-06 22:32 Z

Rubber track[edit]

Would be good to reduce the number of tank images a little, and add more construction machines. One of the small diggers with rubber tracks would be interesting too, to show that not all tracks are metal. MadMaxDog 08:32, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Snowmobiles would be a good source too. MadMaxDog 08:32, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

no Caterpillar track[edit]

I think this article is based on a misapprehension of what a "Caterpillar" is. --- that is simply a trademark of Caterpillar Tractor company.

Caterpillar invented none of them nor did the company even exist until 1925, though one of their predecessor companies I think had the trade mark requiring Best who made a competiive product to call theirs a 'track layer'.

the highspeed track system used by military vehicles is so fundamentally different from what Caterpillar uses that relating them seems a bit of a stretch. they are similar in that they are an endless series of pads to distribute weight, and an Escalator almost meets that criteria.

The tracks typical of Caterpillar Tractor are universally made of two distict components.--- a Track chain--- which is really just that--- a large chain roller chain--- and then to each link there is bolted a pad of an appropriate length to provide the floatation desired. the pad may depending on application have 1 2 or 3 grousers on it. A series of rollers on the bottom of the swing frame support the weight of the machine.

the military design is usually a series of pads linked together without a separate rail and the vehicle weight is supported by bogey wheels which typically have a torsion bar suspensions of some type.

The similarity of the two is only superficial Both are tracks but beyond that there is really nothing about them that is the same... their drive is different, their suspension is different, their application is different, the method of interconnecting the links is differentRvannatta 04:16, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Cable versus hinge pin track design[edit]

I am not sure how to appropriately add this to the article. I have been watching a television show in the US called "Howe & Howe Technologies". The show revolves around a manufacturing facility that designs and builds fast track vehicles. The part I find interesting is that their vehicles use metal tracks, but don't appear to have hinge pins. They appear to use wire cable as a hinge mechanism. Each cleat has tubes or channels that the wire cable runs through. Instead of a chain link & hinge pin design, this design uses two wire cables, each near the outside edges of the cleat. It looks like a track consists of a number of grousers/cleats slid onto two parallel wire cables. It is unclear how the ends of a section of track are joined together to form a complete loop of track. To drive this track, they don't use a chain sprocket as there aren't any chain pins to engage with. Instead, the cleats have small spacers that maintain a gap between the cleats. The driving "sprocket" resembles an open drum of bars. Each bar fits in the space between cleats. The bar engages the entire width of the cleat. The open drum drive seems as though it would be very easy to keep clean and free of debris. Also, this arrangement seems to eliminate the pinching problem between overlapping grousers in a typical track design. Also, I doubt these tracks "stretch" much over time as they don't have pins that wear, producing an effective "stretching" of the chain pitch over time. Anyone know if this is a design similar to a rubber track or maybe a snowmobile track? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 29 January 2010 (UTC)


  • 2 Engineering --> --> put 2 + 2.1 + 2.4 together as a single article section
  • 2.1 Construction and Operation --> put 2 + + 2.1 + 2.4 together as a single article section
  • 2.2 Advantages -->change to 3
  • 2.3 Disadvantages --> change to 4
  • 2.4 "Live" and "Dead" track -> put 2 + + 2.1 + 2.4 together as a single article section

In addition, add "differential"; methods are

  • Single differential
  • Clutch and brake
  • Double Gearbox
  • Double, triple, controlled differential

Ref= (talk) 14:16, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Live & dead track[edit]

Isn't "slack track" the same as dead track; ie where no return rollers are used. Live track is then the track system where return rollers are used.

--> "Some track arrangements use return rollers to keep the top of the track running straight between the drive sprocket and idler. Others, called slack track, allow the track to droop and run along the tops of large road wheels. This was a feature of the Christie suspension, leading to occasional misidentification of other slack track-equipped vehicles."

Regarding the idler wheel, isn't this discarded ie with slack track continuous wheels ? This, as the the extra tension required as the wheels go up & down trough driving over potholes can be provided by means of the drooping of the track on the return side.

Finally, can the effect of suspension system on the track design be mentioned better, ie the linked bogie system (see ) as opposed to the seperate wheel suspension of the christie system isn't mentioned. (talk) 10:21, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Turning tracked vehicles?[edit]

There is hardly anything on how tracked vehicles change their driving direction (just a bit about turning in place in the Advantages section). While I know that it boils down to having one track run faster than the other, I would imagine that the engineering is not an entirely trivial matter. For example, how are engine, transmission and steering set up to accomodate this? What role does the length of the tracks play, given that turning leads to the tracks sliding laterally across the ground? This likely puts some stress on the tracks, especially at the front and rear of the vehicle. Does this lead to some maximum length for tracked vehicles?

Unfortunately I have no knowledge about this (that's why I came here :-)), so I cannot really add this information myself. Elanguescence (talk) 14:22, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

The earliest AFAIK for tracked military vehicles (AFVs) was clutch-and-brake - each side of the vehicle has the drive sprocket connected to the transmission by a steering clutch and a steering brake. To steer, the clutch on the inside turn of the vehicle is clutched out, i.e., initially allowing the sprocket to free-wheel. As the turn is required to become tighter, the brake on that wheel is progressively applied, slowing the track on the inside of the turn even more. This simple system has the disadvantage in that it wastes engine power. Later specialised transmission such as the Merritt-Brown Regenerative System (a system incorporating a differential) were devised, which was much more efficient and also allowed the vehicle to rotate on its own axis. I believe many bulldozers today still use the simple clutch-and-brake method however, as it is simple to implement.
There IS a maximum length for a tracked vehicle (if you want it to be able to make turns that is) and this limitation was discovered on the early British 'Tadpole tail' versions of the Mark I tank. The 'Tadpole tail' was an extension to the rear of the tank that was intended to increase the trench crossing ability, the Germans having widened their trenches after their initial encounter with them at the Battle of Cambrai. The extra length however limited the tanks turning ability and also lead to thrown tracks, and so they were not widely used, the British adopting the carriage of Fascines on their tanks for dropping in trenches instead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:14, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Kegressé tracks[edit]

I added an image of the Kegressé tracks, based on an image of a Tamiya robot. Image might be off slightly, but should be about accurate. See this image (talk) 16:37, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Even in such a simple image, it has two serious errors that make it an unillustrative and unencyclopedic image for illustrating Kegressé tracks. Andy Dingley (talk) 23:46, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Bad link

Steam powered tractors using a form of continuous track were reported in use with the Western Alliance during the Crimean War in the 1850s

Western alliance links to nato this is incorrect please fix it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:36, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Merging Tracked vehicle article with this one.[edit]

That article has a tag stating that it has been decided to merge it with this one. I don't feel ready to do that at this time, but I remind others in case they do. David R. Ingham (talk) 21:11, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Temporary continuous tracks for trucks for crossing extreme slippery muddy roads[edit]

I've seen images where one puts a continuous track around the 2 pairs of wheels at the back of a truck to increase traction. Anybody who can help expand that? Thy --SvenAERTS (talk) 18:42, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Weight to traction relationship marked as dubious[edit]

"Extra weight is an advantage when optimizing for traction and power over speed and mobility." This is objectively true and is not for debate. Friction is net force exerted by two objects against each other, multiplied by friction coefficient. There is simply no other variables. The only source of force in this situation is weight. Therefore, bigger weight directly converts to bigger traction. Bigger weight however naturally reduces mobility and speed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 19 October 2015 (UTC)