– It's great to get out on the ice and try how it is to be a test driver and make various measurements. We collect data from tire tests where we test the friction between the tire and the road surface. It is satisfying to practically make use of the skills we learned in for example math and physics courses, says Ludwig Söderberg who reads the second year at the Bachelor of Automotive Engineering Programme at Luleå University of Technology.
The tire tests are is part of the course Technology Project 2 and is led by senior lecturer Johan Casselgren. He has done research for many years in for instance the project Road Eye, a road surface sensor for vehicles that can warn for slippery road conditions.
– Students learn to make accurate measurements and to evaluate different things. They will discover that everything is not as simple as in theory. You will face other challenges when doing real testes. The goal is for them to be able to explain why, for example, a tire is better than another by using their own data, says Johan Casselgren.
Sensors combined with feeling
There is full activity on the ice when the students are testing different tires on a late model Volvo. Acceleration and braking tests are done on a straight stretch and then they test how the car and its tires behave in a circular test track. In the car the students have a computer that can measure accelaration and friction via sensors However, not only hard data are used in their analysis.
– We also need to describe our experience of driving the car with different tires in different conditions. Among other things, we will test what happens if you turn a tire with specific rotation in the wrong direction.
– It's a great experience to try something that may be what we will be working with in the future. Not least in northern Sweden where there is a large car testing industry with companies from around the world. This kind of activity will also make you come closer to your classmates, says Ludwig Söderberg.
Photo: Ted Karlsson