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Traction testing of passenger car and truck tires in adverse environments (snow, ice, mud, and sand) has become an increasingly important segment of most new tire development programs. This increased emphasis is due to the continued refinement of the all-season design, consumer desires for more effective on- and off-road recreational vehicle tires, and the greater amounts of test documentation required for government agencies. This paper reviews testing and engineering techniques currently used in traction testing in adverse environments and discusses problems specifically related to the traction testing of small, lightly loaded tires under winter conditions. In addition, overall test course preparation is discussed, including the increasingly important concept of reconditioning of snow test surfaces to overcome unfavorable weather conditions. Typical instrumentation and data acquisition systems are presented. The paper concludes with a review of current industry efforts to standardize test methodology in the winter environment, and suggestions for further improving tests in all of the adverse environments.
automotive tires, tire traction, test equipment, tests, test methods, tires
President, DataMotive, Inc., Reno, Nev.