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Modeling the emission of tire wear particles to the environment

Passenger cars, motorcycles, transportation trucks and all other kinds of vehicles driving through the European landscapes emit tire wear particles (TWPs) into the environment. The amounts of TWPs released depend on the design and quality of the tires, and on other factors such as vehicle specifications (e.g., aerodynamics, vehicle mass) and characteristics of the local landscape (e.g., hill slope) and roads.

Recently Mennekes and Nowack (2022) showed that current national approaches to estimate TWP emission in EU countries are oversimplified and use outdated tire wear data. The existing modelling approaches do not account for local differences in vehicles, landscape, and roads (Mennekes & Nowack). For example, many Dutch coastal roads are straight, flat and made of very porous asphalt, while many Italian coastal roads include U-turn corners as they are situated in a hilly landscape. The slope and turns of such a track require more and intense breaking and cornering maneuvers leading to more tire wear per driven kilometer. Furthermore, the tire wear data on which these countries based TWP emission estimates are based include only very few (and mostly old) actual measurement studies.

Our goal within LEON-T (WP3) is to tackle both these issues by developing a new emission model that is based on novel tire wear data obtained from the laboratory and test track experiments performed within LEON-T (WP 2). Moreover, the Leon-Tire emission (LTE) model will be designed in such a way that it accounts for the differences in local vehicles, track and landscapes. This is done by estimating the total friction work done due to the slip and forces acting on the tires during vehicle maneuvers, such as driving at constant speed, cornering, acceleration, deceleration and breaking.

The model will be used to further estimate the fate of TWP in the environment (air, water and soil) and inform policy on effective measures to reduce TWP emissions.

Written by Joris Quik and Joris Meesters.


Mennekes D, Nowack B. 2022. Tire wear particle emissions: Measurement data where are you? Science of the Total Environment, 2022, 830, 154655