Contact Patch Characterization through Finite Element Modeling and Experimental Testing

Tuesday, October 11, 2016: 1:00 PM
Rm 304-5 (David L. Lawrence Convention Center )
Thomas Mathews, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA and Saied Taheri, Center for Tire Research, Mechanical Engineering Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
The objective of this paper is to provide an in-depth analysis of the contact patch behavior of a specific passenger car tire. A Michelin P205/60R15 tire has been used for this study. Understanding the way the tire interacts with the road at various loads, inflation pressures and driving conditions is essential to optimizing tire and vehicle performance. The footprint shape and stress distribution pattern are very important factors that go into assessing the tire’s rate of wear, the vehicle’s fuel economy and has a major effect on the vehicle stability and control, especially under severe maneuvers. In order to study more about the contact patch phenomena and analyze these stresses more closely, a finite element (FE) tire model which includes detailed tread pattern geometry has been developed, using a novel reverse engineering process. In order to validate this model, an experimental process has been developed to obtain the footprint shape and contact pressure distribution. The differences between the experimental and the simulation results are discussed and compared. The validated finite element model is then used for predicting the 3D stress distribution fields at the contact patch. The predictive capabilities of the finite element tire model are also explored in order to predict the handling characteristics of the test tire under different maneuvers such as pure cornering and pure braking.