Inflated tires without grooves have been examined both numerically and experimentally for behavior under vertical and horizontal loads. Complete load‐deformation analysis of the contact area was emphasized. Both two‐dimensional and three‐dimensional models were investigated.

The three‐dimensional approach includes geometrical non‐linearities, hyperelastic material properties, deformation‐dependent load components, and a contact problem with friction. Any contact surface contour can be included in the computation by introducing local coordinates for each node in the footprint area. Test drum experiments can thus be used for comparison.

Extensive experimental and numerical studies were done on tires quasi‐statically loaded against convex and concave drums. Results seem to confirm the need for plane‐surface test devices. The main reason for this is the nonlinear relation of the size of the contact area to the stress distribution or to the maximum stress values.

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