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Meaningful assessment of tire wet traction performance requires an understanding of the tire use environment. The important factors are tires, rainfall conditions, roads, vehicles, and vehicle operation. Analysis shows that certain combinations of these factors are frequently associated with loss of control or skidding.
Tire performance (for wet traction) must be assessed under test conditions that closely duplicate certain critical pavement texture, speed, and water depth conditions. Under such worst-possible-case test conditions, an evaluation of tire performance is obtained where the motorist needs the greatest margin of traction reserve. If tires are evaluated at combinations of speed, pavement texture, and water depth that do not approximate the worst-possible-case set of factors, ambiguous or outright misleading tire performance appraisals may be made.
Based upon the results of an ongoing research and development traction program conducted according to these guidelines and upon certain literature sources, important tire design features are discussed vis-a-vis wet traction performance. The influence of construction features, tread compound, and tread pattern on wet traction is discussed as well as how these interact with certain external-to-tire factors.
tires, wet traction, roads-pavement texture, tire construction factors, tread compound properties, tire tread pattern factors
R&D Fellow—Tire Performance Research, B. F. Goodrich Tire Group R&D Center, Brecksville, Ohio