This image displays insights captured by the High Speed TireScan of a single tire design tested at different speeds and slip angles. With this information, tire design engineers can gain a clearer understanding of what happens to the tire while traveling at high speeds, or while cornering. (Tekscan)

Tekscan goes fast-track with its high-speed tire scanning

A new electronic testing method lets engineers analyze the impact of speed, motion, and inertial forces that high-speed tires experience, a vast departure from what was previously possible with sensor systems.

While Tekscan has a track record with tire-footprint analysis with as many as 250,000 sensing points, the length of time needed to scan that vast data array essentially meant that tire speeds could be no faster than 10 mph (16 km/h).

“But people studying tires also want to understand the impact of centrifugal forces at high-speeds, especially with handling being so important at highway speeds,” Camilo Aladro, Product Manager of Pressure Mapping for Tekscan Inc., said during a recent interview with Automotive Engineering.

Passenger-vehicle, commercial-truck, motorcycle, racecar and other types of tires can be tested with Tekscan’s High Speed TireScan™ via either a tethered or datalogger configuration. For the latter testing method, scanning electronics are affixed to a testing drum’s interior, a datalogger is fastened to the drum’s interior, a thin polyester-film sensor is affixed to the drum and a radio-transmitted signal triggers the recording of data.

Tire evaluators can use the high-speed scanning method to compare inflation pressures, different loads and different velocities.  

“We know drivers don’t always operate their vehicles with standard tire-inflation pressures. That’s why it’s important for a tire manufacturer or an OEM to understand how a tire is going to perform for customers who are not giving all the tender loving care that tires need,” Aladro said.

In a recent test case, Tekscan’s High Speed TireScan was used on a specific tire model at a fixed load and inflation pressure. The test was repeated at double the velocity of the original test.

“As that tire was spinning faster, that speed was expanding the tire’s shoulder length. That’s obviously going to change the performance and handling of a vehicle, since at a higher speed there’s now a different contact area with the road,” said Aladro.

Tekscan’s high-speed testing system is capable of scanning multiple linear arrays across the tire’s width as the tire rolls across a single-sensing column at 20 kHz. While the tire is in motion, Tekscan software shows the tire’s shape and its pressure mapping.

“Being able to scan that column at 20kHz gives us the ability to recognize the tested tire’s footprint while it’s moving at speeds up to 165 mph (265 km/h). We can evaluate tire performance — even cornering performance — and identify failure modes,” said Aladro, adding, “Before this sensing system, you could get the dynamic movement of the tire. But what we were missing was the ability to capture and analyze the impact of centrifugal forces at higher speeds,” he explained. Continue reading »