Effectiveness of Tire-Tread Patterns in Reducing the Risk of Hydroplaning

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail


Wheel rail interaction, Treads, Tire treads, Tire tread patterns, Tire pavement interface, Tire groove depth, Simulation, Rolling contact, Hydroplaning, Finite element method, Finite element analysis, Computer simulation


Grooving of tire tread is necessary to provide sufficient skid resistance for wet-weather driving and to reduce the risk of hydroplaning. Many different groove patterns of tire tread are found in the market. However, their relative effectiveness in reducing hydroplaning risk is generally not known to motorists and highway engineers. The effects of changes in the groove depth of a tire tread’s groove pattern also deserve further investigation. This paper presents an analytical study that aims to characterize quantitatively the influence of different tire-tread patterns and groove depths on the hydroplaning behavior of passenger cars. The analysis is performed by means of a computer simulation model with a three-dimensional finite element approach. The following six forms of tire-tread groove patterns are considered: (a) longitudinal groove pattern, (b) transverse groove pattern, (c) V-groove pattern with 20° V-cut, (d) V-groove pattern with 40° V-cut, (e) combined groove pattern consisting of longitudinal grooves and edge horizontal grooves, and (f) combined groove pattern consisting of longitudinal grooves and 20° V-cut grooves. The analysis shows that a parameter computed as the groove volume per tread area of the tire is a useful performance indicator to assess the effectiveness of various tire-tread groove patterns in reducing vehicle hydroplaning risk. The significance of V-shape grooves is discussed. For vehicular operations involving both forward and lateral movements, the analysis indicates that a combined pattern would provide a good compromise in lowering hydroplaning risk sufficiently in different modes of vehicle movements.