For tire designers, rubber friction is a topic of pronounced practical importance. Thus, development of a rubber–road contact model is of great interest. In this research, to predict the effectiveness of the tread compound in a tire as it interacts with the pavement, the physics-based multiscale rubber-friction theories developed by B. Persson and M. Klüppel were studied. The strengths of each method were identified and incorporated into a consolidated model that is more comprehensive and proficient than any single, existing, physics-based approach. In the present work, the friction coefficient was estimated for a summer tire tread compound sliding on sandpaper. The inputs to the model were the fractal properties of the rough surface and the dynamic viscoelastic modulus of rubber. The sandpaper-surface profile was measured accurately using an optical profilometer. Two-dimensional parameterization was performed using one-dimensional profile measurements. The tire tread compound was characterized via dynamic mechanical analysis. To validate the friction model, a laboratory-based, rubber-friction test that could measure the friction between a rubber sample and any arbitrary rough surface was designed and built. The apparatus consisted of a turntable, which can have the surface characteristics of choice, and a rubber wheel in contact with the turntable. The wheel speed, as well as the turntable speed, could be controlled precisely to generate the arbitrary values of longitudinal slip at which the dynamic coefficient of friction was measured. The correlation between the simulation and the experimental results was investigated.

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