Yokohama has announced new advances in tire aerodynamics technology to control the airflow around tires in motion. The new development reduces the vehicle’s aerodynamic drag and lift. The company says that application of the new technology could lead to the development of new tires that will raise fuel efficiency and increase vehicle safety.
As a follow-up to research on rolling resistance, Yokohama has been focusing its aerodynamics research on the reduction of vehicle air drag, including the use of aerodynamic simulation since 2010. In December 2012, Yokohama developed a technology for placing fin-shaped protuberances on the inner sidewall of the tire in a radial or spoke-like pattern to reduce the aerodynamic drag inside the wheel wells.
The latest development seeks to control aerodynamic flow throughout the vehicle body by using a new fin shape and placement technique that places the fin protuberances at angles near the tire’s shoulder. The fins on the tire’s outer sidewall are said to help reduce vehicle aerodynamic drag when on the upper part of the tire during its rotation, while suppressing vehicle aerodynamic lift when on the lower part of the tire.
In addition, Yokohama conducted a large-scale parameter study in collaboration with a team led by Professor Shigeru Obayashi of the Institute of Fluid Science at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. This study used the K supercomputer in Kobe to run aerodynamic simulations at different parameter values to determine the impact of changes in the parameter values on a desired result. This study led to new knowledge about the optimal placement of fins on the tire surface in order to enhance tire aerodynamics, according to Yokohama.
To date, Yokohama’s research on aerodynamics technology has led to a number of new tire designs that contribute to vehicle fuel efficiency, including a dimple design that places small depressions on the side of the tire and the aforementioned fin tires, with fins located on the side of the tire. The latest breakthrough will enable more optimal placement and shaping of dimples and fins, says the company.
The aerodynamic tire with new fin pattern will be on display at the Yokohama display at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015, to be held from October 28 at the Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo, Japan.