The Truck Industry Council (TIC) in conjunction with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) is set to undertake pavement wear testing on new ultra-wide tyres commonly known as super singles.
Testing is part of a project funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), which is supported by the Federal Government to the tune of $5.4 million.
The project aims to quantify pavement wear for a select range of tyres including the New Generation Wide Base Single (NGWBS) with dimensions of 445/50R22.5.
Current heavy vehicle regulations decree that axle weights on vehicles fitted with super singles are significantly lower than those fitted with comparable dual wheel sets.
According to the TIC, test results will provide the scientific evidence required to develop a case for increasing the mass limits for heavy truck and trailer axles fitted with wide base single tyres, thus bringing them in line with current limits for narrower dual tyre sets.
TIC CEO Tony McMullan said the project would study pavement wear for NGWBS tyres compared to the industry standard dual 11R22.5 tyre installations at the same loads.
“The tyre and pavement testing will be undertaken by the ARRB, with the support of tyre suppliers Michelin and Goodyear,” said McMullan.
“According to safety studies from New Zealand, the adoption of NGWBS tyres resulted in a reduction in the relative crash risk from rollovers by up to 17 per cent, so the potential safety advantages for Australia are significant.”
McMullan contended that the operational benefits of wide base single tyres are well-known: fuel savings, increased payloads, wider footprint and greater stability.
“These benefits are being realised in Europe but not in Australia, as we continue to use old tyre technology that’s been unchanged for over 20 years,” said McMullan.
ARRB will use a test rig known as the Accelerated Loading Facility (ALF) to quantify the performance of a range of tyres, including the NGWBS tyres.
“We need to better understand the impact these new tyres will have on our roads,” said ARRB Leader – Advanced Technologies Lab, Anthony Germanchev.
“We need to put these tyres to the test and that’s what we intend to do.”
Additionally, a tyre footprint assessment was conducted by the project group in early December 2020 using a range of inflation pressures and loads. This data is providing a better understanding of pavement loadings and will guide expected pavement wear impacts.
The group plans to release a report for this initial footprint assessment by the end of the second quarter 2021 to feed into the core pavement wear testing due to start later in 2021 using ARRB’s ALF.