Predicting Truck Tire Problems with the Thermal Image Inspection Station (TIIS) in the Lab and in the Field 2000-01-3429
Radian Inc, working in partnership with the U. S. Army National Automotive Center, has been designing and developing a Thermal Imaging Inspection Station (TIIS) for assessing and diagnosing the condition of truck tires and other components of vehicles in a real-time operational environment. Recently, multiple failures of M939 truck tires (14.00R20, Load Range J, manufactured by both Michelin and Goodyear) have been reported, and the U. S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) contracted with Radian to participate in a tire-testing program, using the TIIS at the TACOM tire-testing lab and in field tests, in hopes of determining the cause of these failures. Tires that failed on the tire dynamometer demonstrated similar problems to tires that failed in field operations. Thermal images recorded in the lab and in the field under similar conditions were highly comparable. The similarities indicate that the tire dynamometer can probably do a credible job of simulating operational conditions in the field and that the TIIS is very promising as a diagnostic and predictive tool. Further enhancements of the TIIS and extended tire-testing programs are already underway.