How often do you consider the amount of pressure you’re exerting on any given surface when you walk, ride a bike or are at work operating construction equipment? I think you’ll be surprised to learn that a 6’ human actually exerts more ground pressure than a 44,000 lb. fully loaded rubber track crawler carrier! I definitely fall into the category of someone who hasn’t put much thought into the pressure that is exerted onto our earth’s surface on a daily basis but find the topic interesting.
How Is It Possible That a Human Exerts More?
Ground pressure effects people in all regions and all types of professions – for those who live in a climate where it snows you’re probably familiar with snow shoes. These were invented to help people get through deep snow by distributing the weight over a larger area and therefore making it easier to walk. The average human exerts 16 psi and that same person with snowshoes only exerts 1 psi. That’s pretty amazing!
Now consider professional bicyclists, they use thin tires for riding on roads (90 psi) but require wider tires for riding through grass and dirt (40 psi). As the surface area widens the ground pressure decreases. The same method can be used for construction equipment. Wheeled vehicles tend to leave behind more environmental damage with an approximate 35 psi in comparison to crawler carriers which have been built with extremely low ground pressure measuring at only 5.1 psi – fully loaded!
Therefore, it all comes down to weight distribution, and the facts say it all. A 200 lb. person could walk across a muddy surface and sink further than a fully loaded carrier weighing 44,000 lbs!
Why Does Ground Pressure Matter?
Of course there is a benefit to low ground pressure or this blog wouldn’t be all that interesting. For humans, low ground pressure allows people to walk in weather conditions that might not otherwise have allowed. Date this back a bit, and the invention of snow shoes probably played a fairly big role in human survival during winter months, but we won’t go that far today.
For crawler carriers, lowering ground pressure allows units to work continuously through various types of terrain saving companies from down time. Additionally, low ground pressure of crawler carriers contributes to less environmental damage after major construction projects. This means less reclamation work after project completion.
So there you have it, ground pressure does matter for both humans and crawler carriers alike. Just think the next time you find your feet sinking into mud or see the ruts your wife left in the lawn trying to exit your driveway, you’ll be thinking back on this blog.