We study rubber friction for tire tread compounds on asphalt road surfaces. The road surface topographies are measured using a stylus instrument and atomic force microscopy, and the surface roughness power spectra are calculated. The rubber viscoelastic modulus mastercurves are obtained from dynamic mechanical analysis measurements and the large-strain effective modulus is obtained from strain sweep data. The rubber friction is measured at different temperatures and sliding velocities, and is compared to the calculated data obtained using the Persson contact mechanics theory. We conclude that in addition to the viscoelastic deformations of the rubber surface by the road asperities, there is an important contribution to the rubber friction from shear processes in the area of contact. The analysis shows that the latter contribution may arise from rubber molecules (or patches of rubber) undergoing bonding-stretching-debonding cycles as discussed in a classic paper by Schallamach.

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