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R&D LABS

OUR R&D LABS

COMPOUND TESTING LAB

Rubber, one of the most fascinating materials in existence, is viscoelastic. In its basic, uncured state, it can be plastically shaped  like modelling clay. Once vulcanised, its elasticity becomes dominant, and it can be stretched before snapping back into its original shape. Depending on the rubber compound recipe, rubber  can exhibit either resilient or energy-absorbing behaviour. The  choice of the correct compound therefore has a major impact on  the specific tyre function, for instance on braking performance,  which should be as high as possible to boost safety, or on rolling  resistance, which should be as low as possible to cut fuel consumption.

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The Compound Testing Lab investigates how new rubber recipes reconcile such conflicting goals.

Phyisics Lab

After the Mixing Lab has produced new rubber compounds in  line with the instructions from the material developers, the compounds arrive in the Compound Testing Lab in the form of test  pieces, which are usually the size of an ice hockey puck. Using  various test methods, the experts then assess whether the material developers' recipes are on target and the performance of the new  material lives up to its theoretical promise. Tests commonly carried out in the  Compound Testing Lab include microabrasion tests, strength tests, tests  for tear, compression and impact strength and investigations into resilience and dimensional stability.

The Compound Testing Lab also operates a High-Speed Linear Friction Tester (HSLFT) to clarify friction mechanisms and gain a better understanding of  rubber friction. This is a new testing machine which performs extremely  accurate measurements of the friction coefficients of rubber on various  substrates, like asphalt, concrete, snow or ice. The temperature of the test environment can be set to between -25 and +60 degrees Celsius. The rubber test  piece is fitted into the HSLFT and then moved over the substrate at speeds of  up to 10 m/s in order to simulate local slip velocities on the tyre. Acceleration values of up to 150 m/s2 can also be achieved. In order to cover the entire  range from motorbike to car to truck tyres, the test piece can be pressed onto  the substrate with a force of up to 3,500 Newtons.

 

The HSLFT provides the technological basis for the Automated Indoor  Braking Analyzer (AIBA) at the Contidrom proving grounds.

 

Using these tests, it is possible to predict the outcome of traction dominated  tyre tests (e.g. on ice and snow) and to rank different variants of a compound. The HSLFT provides the technological basis for the Automated Indoor  Braking Analyzer (AIBA) at the Contidrom proving grounds. The HSLFT offers precisely controllable surface and temperature conditions, while the AIBA  provides the link between controllable test conditions and the real world.

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