Yokohama Aerodynamic Research Advances Again
Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. is working to improve tire aerodynamics technology which controls the air flow around tires in motion. The tire maker says its latest research has resulted in advances in reducing drag and lift, which ultimately could lead to the development of tires with better fuel efficiency and safety characteristics.
The most recent advances follow Yokohama Rubber's rolling resistance research. Since 2010 the company has used aerodynamic simulation technology, and in December 2012, Yokohama Rubber 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 company says the fins on the tire’s outer sidewall help to 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.
The tire manufacturer also conducted a large-scale parameter study in collaboration with a team led by Professor Shigeru Obayashi of Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University. This study led to new knowledge about the optimal placement of fins on the tire surface in order to enhance tire aerodynamics.
To date, Yokohama Rubber’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 as Yokohama Rubber accelerates its research of tire designs that not only improve tires’ fuel performance but also enhance performance in many other areas.
The aerodynamic tire with new fin pattern will be on display at the Yokohama display at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.