An infield study of road snow properties related to snow-car adhesion and snow smoke
Journal article, 2018

© 2017 Elsevier B.V. This article analyzes the properties of snow on the road related to the formation of snow smoke and contamination of the car. The increased usage of sensors for active safety in modern cars increases the importance of understanding contamination of the car body. The analysis characterizes snow in terms of shape, size, and adhesiveness. The data is related to changing weather conditions and experienced car contamination. Several different sampling positions were chosen both on the road and on the car. The temperatures during the days of measurements ranged from − 4 °C to − 12 °C, which gave cold and dry snow. Data on size and shape was obtained via microscope analysis. An infield adhesion tester for snow adhesion measurements was built. The microscope analysis showed that the shape of the snow particles in the tire tracks and on the car body generally had a rounded structure. Even soon after a fresh snow fall, the rounded shapes remained in these positions. This structure was found to change to a more edgy hexagonal shape during hoar formation on the existing snow. The particle size distributions from tire tracks, from suspended snow smoke, and from different positions on the car were analyzed. It was found that smaller particles travel higher and are more prone to enter the wake behind the car to stick to the back parts of the vehicle. The adhesion test gave little distinction between the different snow types and samples. The adhesion force was found to range from 2 to 12 dyne.

Snow smoke

Snow adhesion

Infield study

Snow properties

Vehicle safety


Per Abrahamsson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology

Matthias Eng

Volvo Cars

Anders Rasmuson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology

Cold Regions Science and Technology

0165-232X (ISSN)

Vol. 145 32-39

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Infrastructure Engineering

Vehicle Engineering



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