The friction measuring tyre contact patch
: studies on the interaction of tyres and pavement texture

  • Christopher Tierney

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Tyre and road interface properties have become global issues impacting: safety, quality of life for people affected by noisy roads, government policies committed to targets of reducing CO2 emissions, and most recently microplastic generation.

    This thesis reported on a series of laboratory based non-invasive measurement techniques, used to enhance the understanding of tyre/surface interactions for Friction Measuring Tyres (FMT). These methods included pressure distribution measurement within the contact patch, thermal imagery of FMT interactions and colocalization of data collected.

    The research involved the construction of Tyre Embedment Apparatus (TEA) to quantify the depth to which FMT envelop the surface texture between aggregate particles. The Ulster Tyre/Surface Contact Interface (UTSCI) method was developed to measure the interaction and embedment of FMT into pavement texture and quantify pressure distribution within contact footprints. Idealised textures were investigated to indicate how the pressure distribution would affect the evolution of the surface with trafficking.

    The Ulster Tyre/Surface Thermal Interface (UTSTI) method was developed to examine thermal interaction between FMT and pavement textures under dry free-rolling conditions. A novel contact measurement method was developed using thermal imaging of the FMT surface after pavement contact.

    These techniques contributed to the development of the Tierney Ulster Thermal Colocalization Method (TUTCM) - a method of dataset colocalization derived from differing laboratory techniques to examine contact interactions of FMT in relation to pavement textures. Research method workflows were developed to assist in creating datasets for different interfacial conditions.

    The methods described in this thesis could be used in ways to bring together research to improve highway infrastructure and to produce synergies between highway engineering, tyre manufacturing and road-vehicle design - the goal of which would be to improve road user safety, reduce environmental impact and improve economy of transport
    Date of AwardJul 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsHighways England
    SupervisorDavid Woodward (Supervisor) & Phillip Millar (Supervisor)


    • Tire test
    • Thermal contact
    • Texture enveloping interaction

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