Snow Tire Simulation: Where the Virtual Rubber Meets the Road

While driving along looking out at a New England landscape buried under record snow fall, I started wondering about my tires.  Those four small patches of rubber are all that separate me from ending up in a snow bank or worse.  How do companies design and test tires?  Well after a quick chat with the clever fellows down in SIMULIA I am better educated and pretty amazed by what analysis is done on tires under all weather and conditions.

It turns out that SIMULIA’s FEA simulation software is used by nearly every tire manufacturer in the world to simulate realistic tire performance such as inflation, rolling resistance, noise, tire-road contact, hydroplaning and even behavior of the tire during anti-lock braking!  One of SIMULIA’s customers, Hankook Tire Co. Ltd, even presented their work on tire traction in snow at a SIMULIA Community Conference.  Click here to download Hankook’s report “Tire performance evaluation for severe snow traction”.

One of the major challenges of this type of work is the fact that snow is a tricky material; it doesn’t behave like your everyday engineering materials, so the first step is to develop the right material model to capture the extreme deformation and break-up of the snow. The tire also requires an advanced material model to model the tire deformation as you drive.  The guys at SIMULIA created a complete multiphysics model of a tire, wheel and braking system and the impact of snow on its behavior.  The results of this type of this work is shown below and they are very impressive.  The team modeled both the snow movement and break-up as well as the tire deformation as the car braked (enlarge the below GIF to see how the tire reacts to the snow).

Click the image to view the model.
Click the image to view the model in action.





SIMULIA has both the power and sophistication to handle this type of complex analysis allowing tire manufacturers, and indeed other companies, to understand product performance without requiring physical prototypes.

So while you wait for warmer weather to come our way, check out this awesome clip about simulating the tire-snow interaction including anti-lock braking systems!

Eager to get a grip on more tire simulation content? Click here to learn more about SIMULIA’s tire simulation solutions and how they can help your business gain traction.  For those who want to go a step further, register here to download user conference papers and tech briefs.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel to stay safe on those slushy, slippery roads!

Stephen Endersby

Stephen Endersby

Product Manager at SolidWorks
Stephen Endersby

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