In a highly-tech snow lab, our engineers investigate the science of snow. It is linked very closely linced to the supreme discipline of winter tyre development. Because the properties of snow have direct influence on the performance of a tyre.
Snow is a miracle
Each snowflake is a small miracle, a unique formation of billions of ice crystals. And yet all flakes have one thing in common: six corners - or more precisely, a 6-fold symmetry. Why? Water molecules always arrange themselves at an angle of 60 or 120 degrees.
Snow is not snow
Fallen snow appears in many different forms. Research of the University of Glasgow shows that Scots know most words for snow - not less than 421 words.
Snow changes its mass
While dry powder snow weighs 30 kg/m³, compacted old snow on the ground can reach a mass of 500 kg/m³, firm snow even 800 kg/m³.
In fact, snow constantly changes its state because the individual snow crystals grow together at their contact points. This physical process is called sintering.
Depending on the properties of snow, more or less snow sticks to the tread. A phenomenon that can easily be seen.
If a car drives on fresh powder snow, the tyre is completely covered with snow. With compacted snow, it remains in the tread grooves, the tread appears black and white. If the snow is already hard and stuck, no snow sticks to the tread and the tyre remains black. This interaction between snow and tyre is also influenced by other factors such as air temperature and speed.
In fact, a winter tire performs best on snow when all its gripping edges are exposed. If there is no snow sticking to the tyre, the countless tread cuts work ideally. A premium medium size winter tyre, such as Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+, offers more than 2,500 specially designed sipes for optimum grip.
In the high-tech snow lab in the Goodyear Innovation Center Luxembourg, our ambitious engineers examine the properties of snow down to the smallest detail. The temperature here is 0 to minus 40°C.
In a special machine, we produce natural snow crystals in various forms.
Our engineers analyse snow samples using micro-computer tomography and create informative 3D models of snow samples using modern software.
Engineers combine different types of snow to simulate snow roads. A tribometer is used by materials scientists to study the tyre's friction on snow to optimize rubber compounds, tread designs and sipe arrangements.
The results from the laboratory perfectly complement those of the test drivers who test new tyres on real winter test tracks in Switzerland, Scandinavia and New Zealand. Laboratory and practical knowledge then flow directly into the development of Goodyear UltraGrip winter tyres.
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