#1873: WheelFeeder

Today’s invention is an alternative to caterpillar tracks for tanks.

One problem with tracks is that when some links are damaged (eg by landmines) the vehicle is immobilised.

Instead, each vehicle would ride on two banks of castors, one on either side.

Each castor would be loosely held so that it could spin in a small cage, which would itself be held in place inside a vertical track. The tracks themselves could slide up and down, within shafts (dark blue) providing independent suspension.

Each track would accommodate a number of cages, so that when any of the lower ones were damaged, pressure could be applied to the topmost cage to force the damaged ones out. This would allow replacement of wheels from inside the vehicle, without having to stop.

Each track would have an independent drive unit (red) which would turn the single castor it was in contact with. Castors would have sprockets to enable one to drive its neighbours.

In this way, the drive units could be kept safely within the vehicle body and failure of a small number of shafts would leave mobility unaffected (although loss of an odd number of castors from one shaft would necessitate a change in motor direction).

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