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Tire wear is the result of frictional work in the tire-pavement interface that is generated when tread surface elements go through a frictional force-slip cycle during each passage through the footprint. This review focuses on the nature of the two contacting materials in the treadwear process: the tread rubber and the pavement aggregate. To place the unique performance characteristics of rubber in their proper perspective, some text material is devoted to a brief review of the wear of materials in general and to the key role that visco-elastic behavior plays in the rubber-pavement contact.
Laboratory abrasion testers of various sorts have proven to be valuable in investigating rubber wear mechanisms, and they are reviewed, citing both the technological and the theoretical approaches. A general background on tire wear is presented by the use of a simple wear equation. Next the role of the two contacting surfaces is examined: the pavement aggregate and the tread rubber. The key pavement element of in the tread-wear process is the microtexture, that roughness of surface in the 10−2 mm range. Several characteristics of the tread rubber are important: the glass transition temperature, the reinforcement system (carbon black), and the general resistance of the rubber to friction induced (chemical) degradation. The influence of two of the three known external (to the tire) treadwear factors, frictional or tractive tire force intensity and “ambient-tire” temperature, are next examined. (The third external factor is the pavement microtexture.) Finally some brief information is presented on the actual loss mechanism of tread rubber principally by way of microscopic examination of worn tread surfaces and the morphology of abraded rubber particles.
wear, abrasion, friction, frictional work, mechanochemical degradation, laboratory abrasion, pavement macrotexture, microtexture
Research and development fellow, BFGoodrich Co., Tire Group, Research and Development Center, Brecksville, OH