Experimental Hydroplaning

Volk Field

Undisturbed Water Tire Reaction Study

Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Camp Douglas, WI

Background: Hydroplaning of tires has been studied for a long time. But new work published by Dr. Dan Metz has shown that hydroplaning data taken from flat-track test machines is only useful for tires running in undisturbed water. For a vehicle traveling in a straight line, the rear tires are running in a path partially cleared by the front tires, and so the test data do not represent an accurate picture of what the rear tires are experiencing.

What We Did: Dan collaborated with accident reconstructionists at the Wisconsin State Patrol to perform full scale experiments using the 9,000 ft. runway at Volk Field Air National Guard base. A 100Hz VBOX and the vehicle CAN bus were used to obtain wheelspeed data during braking maneuvers and wheel slip at front and rear wheels was measured. After accounting for weight transfer, results showed that the clearing phenomenon is significant and must be accounted for during accidents involving alleged hydroplaning.

Relevant Scientific Publications:

  • Metz, L. D., “Hydroplaning Behavior during Steady State Cornering Maneuvers,” SAE Paper No. 2011-01-0986 [also in Trans. SAE , Int. J. Materials & Manufacturing ] (2011).
  • Metz, L. D., “Hydroplaning Behavior during Steady State Cornering Maneuvers,” HVE Forum, Scottsdale, AZ, paper no. HVE-WP-2011-03 (2011).
  • Metz, L. D., “Potential for Hydroplaning during Transient Maneuvers,” SAE Paper No. 2012-01-0211 (2012). N.B. This paper was awarded the 2012 SAE Excellence in Oral Presentation Award by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
  • Metz, L. D., “Calculating Tire Overlap during Steady-State Cornering Maneuvers,” SAE Paper No. 2012-01-0242 (2012).
  • Metz, L. D. & Meyers, D. R., “Estimating Path Clearing Effects during Potential Hydroplaning through the Use of Vehicle CAN Bus Data,” invited paper, SAE Paper No. 2013-01-0408 [also in SAE, Int. J. Passenger. Cars, Mech. Syst., 6:1] (2013).
  • Metz, L. D., “Simulation of Transient Maneuver Hydroplaning Events Using HVE,” SAE Paper No. 2014-01-0122 (2014).