NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 20, 2001)—Bridgestone Corp., parent company of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding, Inc., said it has developed the ability to simulate tire performance on snowy surfaces by computer. The Tokyo-based tire maker said it plans to employ such simulations in a broad range of development operations.
Designers long have sought tools for visualizing the action of tires in motion on snow and ice. Bridgestone said its new technology provides those tools and furnishes a scientific basis for optimizing tread designs for winter driving.
The Tokyo-based company said its snow simulation technology reduces the need for expensive and time-consuming cycles of prototype fabrication and analysis in tire development. The technology also offers the ability to simulate different kinds and amounts of snow, which helps achieve better all-around tire performance.
Bridgestone said the new supercomputer-based technology analyzes specific tread patterns in powering, stopping, and in turning a vehicle in slippery winter conditions. Tire designers can view a simulated tread pattern in motion on a snowy road, even allowing for quantifying the shear forces that arise between the tread grooves and the snow.
Bridgestone said it began applying its supercomputer capabilities in 1999 to simulate tread performance and how water is dispersed to prevent hydroplaning.