The research conducted by CenTiRe is driven by the consortium of our industry members, who jointly request, select, fund, mentor, and share in the results of the research. In carrying out this research, faculty and students at the two university sites gain experience in tire and tire-related research. Thus, the output of the Center’s research is two-fold: the technical results and the graduate students who can take their expertise and experience into our member companies.
Research is precompetitive, meaning that it can be shared by all of the Center's members and can be incorporated by each members into their own internal research work to enhance their product development. The research is focused in the areas of tire and tire-related materials, tire physics (including modeling), testing, manufacturing, and sustainability. The Center is also in the process of adding university sites that specialize in off-road tire characterization and simulation, and in tire recycling and reuse technologies, and we are looking for companies or government agencies that have interest in these fields to join as members.
Research at CenTiRe is member driven, meaning that the projects that are performed are of special interest and significance to our member companies. To assure this, our members collectively create a Request for Proposals (RFP) document each year listing the areas of research that they are interested in being pursued. This RFP is distributed to the faculty at both of our university sites, Virginia Tech and the University of Akron, who respond with proposals. Faculty are also free to submit proposals that they deem of interest to the members. These proposals are evaluated by the Center’s Industry Advisory Board members to collectively decide which to fund.
Research projects are mentored by our industry members to provide insight and guidance, making sure that the research performed is of value to them. This also provides excellent feedback to the faculty and students, giving them awareness of the industry needs, experience, and knowledge.
Research projects are typically 2-3 years in length, as most are part of a student’s graduate program and result in a thesis or dissertation.
Results of the research work are quickly shared with the industry members during the project through involvement in mentoring, semi-annual project review meetings, and Members Area of the website. All deliverables are made available to all members at the completion of the project.