The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) are investigating the possible construction of a one-of-a-kind tire performance research laboratory in Danville, Virginia.
The proposed lab would facilitate high-speed testing for the study of tire performance, tire/suspension dynamics and tire-pavement interaction. In addition to Goodyear and the IALR, third-party, non-tire researchers would be able to use the facility. The project involves collaboration between Goodyear, the IALR, and city, county, state and federal government.
The IALR is an educational and research facility founded by action of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to assist the Dan River Region in economic revitalization.
The laboratory would be Goodyear’s second facility in Danville, where the company has operated a manufacturing plant since 1966, employing approximately 2,000 people.
"We have a strong link to the Danville community through our manufacturing plant," said William M. Hopkins, Goodyear vice president, technology & strategic initiatives. "We are excited about the possibility of performing world-class research in Danville, and strengthening our ties to the community through collaboration and educational advancement."
According to Hopkins, this kind of project and an open research and development philosophy is another way for Goodyear to maximize its R&D investments, much as it has done with its 14-year relationship with Sandia National Laboratories. Goodyear has teamed with Sandia, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory operated by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, to develop computational analysis tools in tire mechanics, materials and manufacturing.
Hopkins said outside researchers would benefit from the company’s knowledge of tire/vehicle systems, while Goodyear would use data from the lab to build on its product leadership.
"Vehicle performance depends upon the forces generated at the tire-pavement interface, and conducting these high-speed tests in a precise, laboratory environment is a quantifiable leap in the science of tire and vehicle performance," he said. "We would expect this capability to lead to innovations and advancements in tire handling, wear, traction and fuel economy, which will further enhance the strength of our brands."
"The IALR is excited about this unique opportunity to provide a research and testing facility to advance the science of tire and vehicle interaction, and to assist a major Danville corporate citizen in utilizing the expertise of the Institute’s engineering faculty. This project is an excellent example of what the local leaders envisioned when they began working to create the Institute in 1999," said Dr. Tim Franklin, executive director of the IALR.