AKRON, Ohio, May 4, 2010 – Tire development engineers at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company may not work in public libraries or concert halls, but they seek some of the same outcomes – quiet, comfort and a satisfying experience.
One featured result is the new Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring, a tire that further solidifies Goodyear’s position in the premium auto tire segment, most notably in the “touring” area, which requires refined handling and performance. This new product will help provide the comfort and handling tuned for today’s mid- and upper-scale sedans – from Honda to Ford, and Lexus to Mercedes.
For Goodyear engineers, studying pressure-sensitive photography of a tire footprint is the first indication of its possible noise levels. Lateral grooves in the tread produce tones, and the tread pattern may create a pattern noise. The combination of reverberations around a tire determines its pitch.
Therefore, one of the engineering tasks in tread design is to vary the size of the grooves to produce a wide scale of frequencies. Variation of frequencies minimizes the chances that an annoying recurring tone will be produced.
“Obviously, we know that effective tread grooves are needed for wet traction, but we have to carefully evaluate their widths, angles and other factors. Finding the right balance is a true science, as we consider the importance of low tire noise, while continuing to emphasize the product’s stopping ability and maneuvering on rain-slick roads,” said Keith Grabo, lead engineer. Noise frequencies transfer through the tire itself, the vehicle suspension and through the air around the tire into the passenger area. With road surface noise factored in, the opportunity for noise discomfort is there.
One of Goodyear’s high-tech advantages in the noise suppression effort is a unique room that is usually quieter than any public library. Because the sound quality of tires is determined inside the vehicle, Goodyear test personnel use the company’s anechoic chamber, a room that suppresses echoes or sound reflections and allows tonal characteristics of noise to be evaluated.
The anechoic chamber is large enough to drive cars or even large trucks into, and an in-the-floor test wheel can spin the vehicle’s tire with no need for the vehicle’s engine to be running. This deletes any outside noise interference from the engine, and pinpoints the sounds emanating from the tire under evaluation.
As noise evaluation has moved from an art to a science, Goodyear’s assortment of design and test tools, such as soundproof labs, are facilitating predictions of how a tire will sound as it rolls down the highway.
The Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring is an all-new tire available at Goodyear-owned and independent retail outlets throughout North America. In addition to the smooth, comfortable ride, the Assurance ComforTred Touring helps provide refined luxurious handling, all-season traction and a tread life limited warranty up to 80,000 miles, all in addition to the signature “touring” and “comfort” feel of the product.
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs approximately 69,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate