Toyo Tires introduces ‘Mobility Aerodynamics’ technology
To help it design tyres that contribute towards lower fuel consumption and, in electric vehicles, increased range, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. has developed its own aerodynamic simulation technology. It calls it ‘Mobility Aerodynamics’ and says the technology “represents an advance never seen in the industry before.”
Toyo Tires’ Mobility Aerodynamics technology aids in predicting the aerodynamic characteristics of tyres and vehicles when a moving tyre comes in contact with the road surface. Actual tyre pattern designs are used to combine tyre use conditions when a vehicle is in motion (primarily the load on the tyres and the vehicle’s speed) with conditions of various wheel and vehicle shapes, after considering how tyre shape deforms under those conditions.
By combining the various conditions, Toyo Tires believes Mobility Aerodynamics will place the tyre maker at an advantage when working with vehicle manufacturers to develop tyres that optimise fuel consumption and range. The technology offers high-precision simulations that yield data consistent with results from wind tunnel tests using actual vehicles, enabling Toyo Tires to develop and bring to market tyres that “have excellent aerodynamic characteristics.”
A rotating tyre on a moving vehicle deforms due to the load it is under, and this rotating, deforming tyre affects the air around it, changing the flow fields and thus the vehicle’s aerodynamic characteristics. It is thought tyres are responsible for around 15 per cent of the total air resistance that holds a vehicle back, but this effect can be minimised and fuel consumption reduced by optimising the tyre profile’s cross-sectional contour. Achieving this requires an analysis of flow fields generated around a rotating tyre in order to develop ways to control these flow fields.
From 1 September 2018, only cars homologated under the Worldwide-harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) can be sold in Europe. The WLTP, which mandates resistance assessments of individual motor vehicles, also includes wind tunnel tests to determine tyre air resistance, and this will have a direct bearing on regulated levels for tyre aerodynamic characteristics. Toyo Tires expects that more attention will be placed upon improving flow fields around tyres in future.
Mobility Aerodynamics represents an advance on Toyo Tires’ ‘T-Mode’ simulation technology, which uses computer simulation to shorten design times by virtually testing vehicle-mounted tyres in an array of driving conditions.