Products for Car / Van / 4x4

R&D LABS

HIGH-TECH PRODUCT TIRES

NOISE, VIBRATION & HARSHNESS

How can tire road noise be reduced? Finding this out is the job of the team working in the Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH) Lab. Tires are responsible for around 50 percent of the noise produced when driving. The ideal “silent” tire is a heavy and smooth slick. In wet conditions, however, this type of tire performs very poorly in other criteria compared to a wellbalanced summer or winter tire.

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Tires are responsible for around 50 percent of the noise produced when driving.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH) Lab

How testing is carried out

The tires run at different speeds on various road surfaces in an anechoic chamber while highly sensitive microphones record the noise generated. The contact pressure between the tire and the surface it is running over can be varied in order to simulate different vehicle weights.

Special software is then used to analyse two aspects of the tire’s NVH performance: 1. The road surface-dependent rolling noise emitted directly by the tire into the environment. Here, the analysis checks whether the tire noise meets or even falls below the statutory noise protection limits (EU tire label). 2. How well does the tire absorb vibrations without transmitting them into the vehicle interior via the body? NVH Lab staff work closely with the tread designers and are consulted as soon as it is time to evaluate the initial versions of a new design. However, noise performance is affected by other aspects too: the properties of the tire casing, the sidewall, the density of the material and the tire’s weight.

 

Besides calculating quantitative noise levels, the NVH Lab is also responsible for sound design. Indeed, it is not just the volume of a noise that determines whether it is perceived as obtrusive, but also the nature of the sound it makes.

NVH

Electric mobility enters the limelight

Tires for electric vehicles account for a steadily increasing proportion of noise tests. Such tires must have exceptionally low rolling resistance along with a lightweight design in order to increase vehicle range. The NVH Lab provides insights into how to resolve possible conflicting goals in the product development process.

Sound design around the world

Besides calculating quantitative noise levels, the NVH Lab is also responsible for sound design. Indeed, it is not just the volume of a noise that determines whether it is perceived as obtrusive, but also the nature of the sound it makes. One well known example of this is the distinctive “howling” sound made by truck tires at certain speeds and on particular road surfaces. The sound designers also manage to transform the higher levels of noise from winter tires into a more pleasant sound.

Since sound is perceived very differently from one continent to the next, tire noise is customized for the markets in Asia and North and South America. So, not only does the NVH Lab interface with the other R&D departments at Continental, it also actively addresses customer wishes brought to its attention by marketing and sales teams around the world.


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