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Pneumatic Tire

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(Redirected from Pneumatic tires)
Mechanical Features and Designs

A pneumatic tire, also called an air-filled tire[1], is a rubber tire filled with compressed air. The compressed air inside the tire maximizes the tire’s load-carrying capacity, absorbs shock, and provides resistance against cutting and abrasion. A solid rubber tire, on the contrary, relies on the rubber portion of the tire to entirely carry the load.[2] This is how the two types of tires differ.

Most free-moving vehicles today use pneumatic tires because they provide unparalleled cushioning ability as well as other advantages.[3] In fact, about 200 million motor vehicles each year, 90 percent automobiles and 10 percent trucks, are now manufactured with pneumatic tires.[4] The use of solid rubber tires is reserved mostly now to farming, industrial, and military vehicles and other applications where tires experience a higher rate of exposure to cutting, abrasion, and piercing.[5]


[edit] History

The first wheels ever produced were a simple piece of curved solid wood. Eventually, leather was wrapped around the wood to provide additional softness.

The invention of vulcanization in 1844 by Charles Goodyear marked the true beginning in the evolution of rubber tires. Vulcanization refers to the process used to produce and cure rubber tires.[6] Rubber is heated with sulfur that transforms the sticky, raw, rubber into a firm pliable material ideal for manufacturing tires.[7]

The first solid rubber tires appeared on hansom cabs in London in 1881. They became widely used thereafter on many types of commercial road vehicles but have since disappeared as a result of legislation that sought to limit their use on highways, as they were very heavy and rough on roads. Eventually, the use of solid rubber tires was supplanted with the use of pneumatic tires.[8]

[edit] Invention of the Pneumatic Tire

The invention of the pneumatic tire is attributed to Robert William Thomson, who invented a hollow rubber tire filled with air in London in 1845. His version of the pneumatic tire consisted of an inner tube inflated with air and encased within a heavy rubber tire stretched around rims. Thomson received a patent for his invention.

His pneumatic tire proved to be quite a substantial improvement over the solid rubber tires that had been around for some time, because it reduced vibration and provided for a much smoother ride and better traction control.[9] Though Thomson’s invention of the pneumatic tire was successful, having traveled some 1,200 miles (1,931 km) attached to an English brougham, the use of pneumatic tires was curtailed for almost half a century due to the popularity of solid rubber tires.[10]

In 1888, the popularity of bicycles revived an active interest in tire design. John Dunlop, a veterinary surgeon in Belfast, obtained a patent for a reinvented version of a pneumatic tire made for bicycles.[11] Dunlop claimed that he had no prior knowledge of Thomson’s pneumatic tire.[12] This time, the pneumatic tire did catch on with the public and it was quickly applied to motor vehicles, with the first application being initiated by French rubber manufacturer Michelen & Cie.[13] Dunlop’s version of the pneumatic tire remained the industry standard for close to half a century until it was eclipsed by bias ply tires.[14]

[edit] How it Works

A pneumatic tire is comprised of an airtight inner core that is filled with compressed air. The inner core is then covered with a tread comprised of reinforced steel belting and other materials that provides the contact area with the road. The compressed air within the tire is greater than the atmospheric pressure outside the tire. As a result, the tire is able to remain inflated even under the weight of the vehicle. It is actually the tire’s air pressure that protects the tire from deformation and general wear and tear and gives the tire its cushioning effect.[15]

Overall, pneumatic tires are specifically designed to meet five different performance goals:

  • low rolling resistance
  • low vertical stiffness to cushion the ride
  • high sliding friction in both wet and dry conditions
  • high longitudinal and lateral stiffness
  • resistance to wear and damage from cutting, puncturing, and abrasion[16]

Pneumatic tires do present some drawbacks though. In high performance scenarios, they are more susceptible to puncturing, leading to total tire failure. At high speeds, they are also more vulnerable to blow out. Variations in air pressure and tire performance are also common problems plaguing the use of pneumatic tires.[17]

[edit] Common Manufacturers

  • Bridgestone
  • Continental
  • Cooper
  • Goodyear
  • Hankook
  • Michelin
  • Pirelli
  • Sumitimo
  • Toyotires
  • Yokohama
  • Dunlop

[edit] References

  1. How the Tweel Airless Tire Works. 2008-09-09.
  2. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  3. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  4. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  5. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  6. Pneumatic Tire. 2008-09-09.
  7. Pneumatic Tire. Continental. 2008-09-09.
  8. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  9. The Pneumatic Tire, An Idea Ahead of its Time. 2008-09-09.
  10. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  11. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  12. Pneumatic Tire. Continental. 2008-09-09.
  13. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  14. The Pneumatic Tire, An Idea Ahead of its Time. 2008-09-09.
  15. How the Tweel Airless Tire Works. 2008-09-09.
  16. Pneumatic Tires. 2008-09-09.
  17. How a Tweel Airless Tire Works. 2008-09-09.