Hyogo, Japan — Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has disclosed the development of technologies designed to reduce a tire's aerodynamic drag and to cut tire cavity noise significantly.
The first technology, which Toyo is calling "Mobility Aerodynamics," uses aerodynamic flow simulations to allow the company to predict the aerodynamic characteristics of tires and vehicles under rolling tire contact patch conditions.
Toyo claims using mobility aerodynamics will give it an advantage with vehicle makers in being able to propose ideas that could result in improved fuel consumption and extended range.
The breakthrough also should lead to the development of tires that have "excellent aerodynamic characteristics," based on high-precision simulations yielding numerical data consistent with the results of wind tunnel tests using actual vehicles.
Among the variables that have to be considered in measuring a tire's aerodynamic drag are individual tread patterns combined with simulations of actual vehicles and wheels, Toyo said. Tire deformation caused by differences in applied load, speed, running attitude angle and other factors were considered in order to develop techniques for aerodynamic characteristic simulations.
Toyo noted that reducing the negative effect of aerodynamic resistance pays dividends in improving fuel efficiency in vehicles with internal combustion engines and in extending the per-charge range in electric and/or hybrid vehicles.
As they rotate, tires on a moving vehicle keep deforming their shape while supporting the load. A rotating object has an effect on the air around it, changing the flow fields, Toyo said, estimating tires represent about 15% of the total air resistance experienced by a moving vehicle.