Goodyear, IALR studying possible cooperative tire research lab in Virginia

Jan. 1, 2020
Goodyear and The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) are investigating the possible construction of a tire performance research laboratory in Danville, Va. The proposed lab would facilitate high-speed testing for the study of tire per
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Goodyear and The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) are investigating the possible construction of a tire performance research laboratory in Danville, Va.

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 governments.

The IALR is an educational and research facility founded by 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 factory since 1966, employing some 2,000 people.

“We have a strong link to the Danville community through our manufacturing plant,” says William M. Hopkins, Goodyear vice president of technology and 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 Corp., to develop computational analysis tools in tire mechanics, materials and manufacturing.

Hopkins says 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 says. “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,” says Dr. Tim Franklin, IALR executive director. “This project is an excellent example of what the local leaders envisioned when they began working to create the Institute in 1999.”

The IALR is a research facility created as a cooperative effort between state and local governments and Virginia Tech. Working with Virginia Tech faculty and administrators, the Institute’s programs include research in motorsports, polymers, robotics, horticulture and bioinformatics. It is also the site for a variety of technical classes offered by several colleges in the state, including the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Tech.

For more information, visit www.ialr.org or www.goodyear.com.

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