Screw-propelled vehicles are not new. They are rare and unusual. But they’re not new. The Russians are particularly fond of them, partly due to the inhospitable terrain which covers much of the country’s frozen expanse. Screw-propelled vehicles have even been used by the Soviet space ministry for picking up returning cosmonauts who had landed in areas difficult to access by road.
However, despite their ability to keep moving over ground where a tracked-vehicle might find it difficult, and a wheeled-vehicle wouldn’t stand a chance, screw-propelled vehicles do have some major drawbacks. Firstly they’re quite slow. But secondly, and more seriously, they pretty much tear up the land as they pass over it. And they’re next to useless on a hard surface like a road.
But step forward Russian inventor Alexey Burdin. He has come up with a prototype system which can overcome the weaknesses of a screw-propelled vehicle, while also maintaining all the benefits. His system, called TESH-drive transformable worms, uses a heavy-duty, Kevlar-reinforced inflatable tube wrapped tightly around the screw. When the tube is deflated the screws are able to bite into the ground and power the vehicle forward through difficult terrain, including mud, swamps, snow and ice, and even through water. However, when it comes time to get back on the road, the tubes can be inflated to fill the space in-between the screws and create a soft surface for the vehicle to ride on without damaging the surface underneath.
Burdin, an engineering graduate of the Saint Petersburg State Mining Institute and Technical University, has been working on his innovative concept for number of years, but the project has recently taken a major step forward as it has recently secured the first sponsor, in the form of Licota Tools. He is also in talks with the tire manufacturer Continental to take the idea to the next level.
As well as looking to create a highly capable off-road system for both civilian and military vehicles. Burdin is also exploring the more light-hearted idea of using the system in a range of remote-control toys, and for use in computer game vehicles.
Thanks to Alexey for the update. Source: D-Lord.ru