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Development of a design verification methodology including strength and fatigue life prediction for agricultural tractors

During the operations of an agricultural tractor, front axle and front axle support encounter the worst load conditions of the whole tractor. If the design of these components is not verified by systematic engineering approach, the operators of the tractor may face with sudden failures. This paper aims to develop a verification method, which involves testing an agricultural tractor on a special test track and agricultural field and together with the computer aided engineering analysis, in order to prevent such failures in the lifetime of the agricultural tractor. For this purpose, a strain gage data acquisition system has been designed to measure the strain values on the component in order to determine maximum principle stresses for the calculation of overload safety on the agricultural field and stress data for the prediction of fatigue life on a radial washboard test track. The cycle number of these stress data for the fatigue analysis has been established by rainflow cycle counting method. Total fatigue damage for the front axle support has been calculated considering damage accumulation hypothesis defined by Miner.