University of Akron tire research consortium receives $250,000 NSF grant


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $249,995 grant to The University of Akron (UA) for research training opportunities in tire science. The project aims to expand UA’s Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe), enhancing vehicle and road design as the demand on tire performance has increased. 

CenTiRe is a consortium of tire and tire-related industry members with two outstanding universities—The University of Akron and Virginia Tech—that conducts leading-edge, pre-competitive research in materials, tire physics (including modeling), testing, manufacturing and sustainability.

The University of Akron is a world-class leader in polymer science and polymer engineering, while Virginia Tech is known for its expertise in tire and vehicle mechanics and dynamics, road pavement characterization, simulation and testing.

Faculty at both universities provide their technical expertise and guidance to the graduate students performing the research and interact with the industry members.

“The technologies developed at UA and Virginia Tech address the roadmap required for unmet and underserved tire industry needs, including all-weather traction, durability, and environmental impact,” said Dr. Craig Menzemer, dean of UA’s College of Engineering and Polymer Science. “Since its inception in 2012, CenTiRe has provided a common platform for educating the next tire industry workforce to address global challenges and opportunities.”

Currently there are 19 tire and automotive companies financially supporting the center, including global tire manufacturers, material suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, and test equipment and service suppliers. These members collectively provide direction and decisions on research and operation of the Center to produce results that are meaningful and transferable to the member companies.

The corporate members form an Industrial Advisory Board that meets twice a year. During these meetings the NSF representatives, faculty from both universities and the corporate members jointly decide which projects are relevant to industry and need financial support for that current year. 

“Research in science and technology is critical to create jobs and improve our economy. We unleash more American innovation when everyone is able to participate and we nurture all Ohio talent,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in a prepared press release. “The University of Akron is one of Ohio’s great institutions of higher education. These awards will help continue Ohio’s long tradition leadership in the auto industry.”  


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