The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co and Sandia National Laboratories are celebrating two and a half decades of technical collaboration to improve tire design.
“It is remarkably complicated to model and simulate tire performance, let alone under varying temperature, pressure and wear conditions,” says Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer. “Our computational work with Sandia is a continuous source of competitive advantage for Goodyear, helping us design and deliver high-performance products and services in a digital economy.”
The company credits its work with Sandia for reducing new product development times, improving manufacturing methods, and lowering both technical and operational costs.
Goodyear and Sandia signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) in 1993. “Tech transfer was an exciting new opportunity for the labs,” says Mary Monson, senior manager of technology partnerships at Sandia. “At the same time, Goodyear looked at our advanced computational mechanics software and saw it could be applied to tires. Instead of building and testing three to five prototypes before a tire was ready for manufacture, they could use our computer codes to develop one.”
One outcome of the collaboration was the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred, an all-weather tire with a complicated multi-compound tread. It was brought from concept to market in less than a year, made possible by the modeling and predictive testing tools developed with Sandia.
A wide range of lab technologies have played a role in the Sandia-Goodyear CRADA, including advanced computational mechanics, sophisticated geometry and meshing, computational simulation and verification, structural and tire dynamics, and much more.
The work with Goodyear led to a deeper appreciation at Sandia of the value of computer modeling in the early stages of development. “We showed that modeling and simulation made a difference in developing better products faster,” says Ted Blacker, Sandia’s manager of Simulation Modeling Sciences. “Our computational tools typically were used late in the process to understand why something broke and how to fix it. Now we use modeling more in the up-front stages, such as in the early design, to reduce testing.”
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, Calif.