Ten years after the first agreement, Pirelli, Milan Polytechnic and Polytechnic Foundation have signed off a continuation of the ‘Joint Labs’ program, focused on research projects for the continuous technological innovation of tires.
This collaboration will extend for another three years, with new and challenging objectives as well as innovative tools.
Pirelli’s static simulator, installed in the company’s research and development centre in Milan, as well as the dynamic simulator in Politecnico, are now also pivotal to the program.
In addition to enhancing the potential of virtual modelling, this latest chapter of the two-million Euro agreement (from 2021 to 2023) focuses on two main areas of research:
- Materials (with the development of innovative solutions and modelling of mixing processes)
- Product and cyber development (with integrated static or dynamic simulation and innovative modelling)
The researchers will be involved in the following areas:
- Simulation: integrated use of static and dynamic simulators with the aim of optimizing the development and testing of new tires, reducing lead times and strengthening collaborations with car manufacturers.
- Materials: modification of polymers, nanofillers, protective tire materials, new materials with low environmental impact; open-source modelling for mixing and modelling of textile reinforcements.
- Product and cyber development: external and internal noise, tire aerodynamics, automated tread modelling; development and consolidation of models for intelligent vehicle control data, and development of value-added services from the cyber system.
History of collaboration
Over the 10 years of the collaboration between Milan University, the University Foundation, and Pirelli, no fewer than 14 registered patent families have been filed.
About 30 articles were published in international scientific journals, as well as a number of high-profile presentations made at international conferences.
The topics addressed have been multiple, and the results have been seen in terms of tire performance, safety and sustainability: thanks to the use of advanced materials identified as part of this partnership.
In particular, 15 research grants for young graduates were awarded in the materials chemistry sector.
Results from joint research
In the last three years, research has mainly focused on the production and functionality of carbon allotropes, preparation of modified silica fibres, as well as studies into alternative sources of natural rubber, synthesis of innovative polymers, and self-repairing materials.
In the tire mechanics sector, 12 research contracts have been activated in the cyber tire and Formula 1 fields since 2011, with a study into the interaction between tires and asphalt.
An area of particular interest is the study of low-noise tires for new hybrid and electric vehicles, a key aspect of driver comfort. Innovative testing methods were applied for the indoor measurement of the acoustic field generated by the rolling tire.
Using the Tread Modelling Automation project, the modelling of the tire and the characteristics of the different summer, winter and all-season tread patterns were studied.