How do tanks control both sets of tracks individually?


I have been trying to figure out how tanks are able to control each set of tracks individually, but I can not find the solution on Google. I have tried using cad to solve it myself, but nothing I came up with works. Could someone explain to me the mechanics of how they work?

In: Engineering

Two driving power sources, basically, to water it way down.

One control’s the power to the left track on to the right track. When you want to turn you give more or less power to the respective tracks thus turning the machine.

There are lots of different options, but generally they involve having one or more differentials, and then using braking of one side or other to slow that side down, or using clutches to change the effective gear ratio of each side.

In general there is a tradeoff between precise control (variable turn radius, inability to self-turn), efficiency (in terms of energy dissipated in brakes), and mechanical complexity.

One common method was [Clutch-Brake steering]( Modern tanks will be a bit fancier but the general theory is the same

For a Clutch-Brake system, power goes to the differential which tries to split the power between the two sides. If you want to turn left you engage either the wheel or a lever that at first just opens the clutch to the left side track so only the right side is powered and moving faster but the left is free spinning and this will cause the tank to turn to the left. If you need to turn really sharply you keep turning/pulling the lever and the brakes are applied to the left track so its now at a dead stop and only the right track is being powered this lets the tank make very sharp turns.

This type of system isn’t nearly as graceful at turning as the Rack and Pinion system in your car that gives you very gradual control, but it can handle a huge amount of power.

The Wikipedia article concerning [Tank Steering Systems]( covers pretty much every single mechanism which is used to control tank tracks individually.

The simplest way is a using two clutches on the driveshafts – disengage the clutch and activate the brake on the side you want to stop turning, and power is sent only to the outer track. Biggest downside here is that you cannot reverse the inner track to spin on the spot, and the inner track isn’t powered, halving power output to the ground.

The more complex mechanisms involving multiple differentials that allow you to control the rate of power delivery to both sets of tracks, including fully reversing their directions. [Here’s a video of a double differential mechanism.](