Tire maintenance & safety

How centrifugal force affects tires

Last updated 10/17/2022 - Originally published 9/22/2020
Written by SimpleTire

One applied law of physics that greatly affects tire responsiveness and adjustment to the road is centrifugal force. There are multiple ways that centrifugal force affects a tire including centrifugal thrust. From lateral force measurements to camber thrust to pneumatic trail and cornering force, the energy developed through centrifugal thrust is an extremely important factor that is considered during the tire design process.

Tires are subjected to a variety of physical forces including centrifugal thrust, which in turn puts a variety of demands on tires. The energy transfers that take place from tire to wheel, suspension, and vehicle chassis vary based on a number of variables. These include tire construction, tire materials, tread patterns, tire size, and outside variables such as vehicle mass and velocity.

Centrifugal Thrust

The word centrifugal is Latin, which means directed outward from the center. Because of applied force and energy, an object will attempt to continually move in the direction it's traveling. This centrifugal thrust can be applied to the science of tires in many ways.

For example, when a vehicle is traveling around a turn or a corner, it's working through a circular pattern of movement. While the angles may be measured precisely by the various roadways, the actual path traveled by the vehicle is arc-like or circular.

This movement is subject to centrifugal thrust forces that push the vehicle toward the outside of the turn regardless of the direction the tires are actually facing. Such thrust causes the tires to fight against the forces of inertia in order to respond to a driver's demands.

Centrifugal Growth

Centrifugal growth also affects tires. This occurs as centrifugal force occurs from a tire's center outwards as it rotates. As the energy of the spinning tire increases through velocity, the tire will expand. This is a direct result of the construction of a pneumatic tire.

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