Rubber snow interface and friction
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Tyres are used in everyday life for a variety of practical and recreational tasks. Frictional behaviour of tyres on any surface is important for vehicle safety and control; this behaviour becomes more important when that surface is snow. The interaction of rubber and a snow surface is complex and a deeper understanding of both is needed in order to help develop better tyres. Outdoor full scale tyre test results were compared to results from indoor laboratory tests using a linear tribometer and a surface of compacted artificial snow; these were in excellent correlation allowing a systematic and comprehensive study of rubber friction on snow to be conducted in the laboratory. Rubber samples of varied rubber compositions and geometries were used to gain an understanding of friction on snow. Samples with varying glass transition temperature (Tg), dynamic rigidity (G*) and Payne effect (dependence of the dynamic moduli on the amplitude of the applied strain) were investigated along with samples with and without sipes. The rubber friction coefficient (μ) was measured as a function of velocity and temperature. The siped samples exhibited a higher μ than those without sipes. FE simulations, rubber friction tests for varying contact pressures and steel blade force tests were performed to evaluate contributions from ‘surface’ friction and ploughing separately. The increased μ was attributed to the ploughing force from the front edges of the ‘subblocks’ created by the sipes. Although it is well known in the industry that siped tyres grip well, this is the first time it has been explained how sipes grip effectively through a combination of ploughing and rubber snow interaction. A comprehensive study of varying rubber properties (Tg, G* and Payne effect) was conducted to better understand their impact on snow friction. The findings were evaluated using the WLF shift factor to account for the running frequency of the rubber from the snow surface roughness. G* was found to be the dominant parameter for rubber μ when considering running frequency. Increased μ values were exhibited by rubbers with a lower G*. The decreased G* makes the rubber more compliant, thus increasing the contact area between the rubber and the snow, in turn increasing μ. A better knowledge of the surface roughness of snow will aid the understanding of the interaction between rubber and snow for tyres. A method was developed to characterise the artificial snow surface utilising sectioning and imaging of chemically stabilised snow samples. From images of the snow surface before friction testing the average indentor size can be found, this is used to analyse the running frequency of the rubber. Qualitatively comparing the surfaces before and after rubber friction testing shows a decrease in surface profile aggressivity after a test; this is attributed to melting of the snow from frictional heating and snow grain fracture. Friction tests were conducted to directly compare rubber friction on snow and ice using round edged samples. Again it was found that the rubber with the decreased G* exhibited higher friction; this was seen on both snow and ice confirming G* as the dominant rubber property for both surfaces, regardless of the surface roughness change. It was found that at low temperatures ice had a higher μ than snow, while at high temperatures snow exhibited a higher μ than ice. It is hypothesised that this intriguing switch is due to the surface roughness change leading to differing contact areas both with and without melt water. This switch is not seen when a simple heat transfer model is used, confirming the effect as a surface roughness change. The use of a modified Hertz model shows that indentation is the dominant mechanism at low velocities on snow. It is hypothesised that at high velocities melt water dominates on both snow and ice while adhesion may have a more significant role on ice at low velocities. These findings provide knowledge that can be used in the design of tyres for snow and ice in the future.