Experimental study and modeling of the interaction between bovine claw and concrete floor

(finished project, researcher: A. Franck, for more information contact prof. dr. ir. Nele De Belie

Due to the increasing intensity of modern farming, cows spend more time in cattle housing than ever and this at the expense of walking at pasture. Most animals walk frequently on slatted concrete floors or on full concrete floors. As a consequence, specific claw diseases may arise, which lead to economic losses. Inadequate properties of the floors (e.g. too rough or too slippery) seem to be the primary cause of most claw problems. Therefore, the interaction between bovine claw and concrete floor was investigated in order to predict and, ultimately, prevent claw diseases. First, the properties of the bovine claw horn (biomechanical and histological) and the concrete floor (roughness) were studied and the contact pressure between claw and floor was determined. Then, the frictional interactions – static and dynamic, in dry and wet conditions – between claw and floor were investigated. Moreover, two synthetic floor covering were included in the study. Finally, the obtained data were applied to construct a finite element model of the claw-floor interaction.

concrete and environment 52

Contact pressures between the fore claw and the rough floor with friction between claw and floor. The floor was omitted in this image.