Yokohama has made new advancements in tyre aerodynamics that focus on managing the airflow around the tyres in motion. The latest development in this area reduces the aerodynamic drag and lift of the vehicle. The application of this technology in production tyres could lead to increased fuel efficiency and vehicle safety.
Prior to this, Yokohama was successful in experimenting with low rolling resistance tyres. Since 2010, the company has been researching on the potential of aerodynamic technology to reduce vehicle air drag. Moreover, they also used aerodynamic simulation technology for this research.
In December 2012, the company showcased fin-shaped protuberances on the inner sidewall of the tyre in radial or spoke-like pattern. These protuberances helped in decreasing the drag inside the wheel wells.
Nowadays, the engineers are seeking to control the air flow throughout the body of the vehicle. They are using fins on the outer sidewall of the tyre. The fins on the outer sidewall contributes in reducing the aerodynamic drag on the upper part of the tyre. The technology also reduces the aerodynamic lift on the car when the fin is at the lower part of the tyre.
The research team also collaborated with a team led by professor Shigeru Obayashi from Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University, to conduct a large-scale parameter study. During this, a supercomputer was used for aerodynamic simulations at different parameter values to gauge the effect of changing parameters on the final result. This study helped in determining the optimal placement of fins on a tyre’s surface.
Yokohama will showcase this aerodynamic tyre technology at the ongoing 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.