Rubber Tyres Before There Were Tyres

Sometimes there is pleasure in watching an expert demonstrating his craft, particularly so when the craft is unusual or disappearing. A video came our way of just such a thing, and it’s of a craft so rare that it’s possible few of us will have considered it. We’re used to buying tyres for our motor vehicles that come pre-made in a mould for the size of our wheels, but how many of us have considered where the origins of the rubber tyre lie? How did a 19th-century horse-drawn buggy get its tyres? [EngelsCoachShop] take us through the process, putting rubber on a set of wooden carriage wheels.

These wheels would originally have had iron rims, that must have provided a jarring ride on cobbled roads of the day. English coach-builders of the mid 19th century were the first to fit solid rubber tyres, and it’s this type of tyre that’s being fitted in the video. Instead of the rubber ring we might expect the tyre is cut from a length of vulcanised rubber extrusion with a significant overlap, then a pair of high-tensile wires are fed through holes in the extrusion. The impressive part is the jig for creating the tyre, in which the rubber is compressed to a tight fit on the wheel before the wires are cut and their ends brazed together. Once the wheel is released from the jig  the compressed tyre expands to the point at which its ends meet, making a perfect circular tyre held tightly on the rim. Few of us will ever see this for real, but we’re privileged to see it on the screen.

We may not deal with wooden wheels very often, but this isn’t the first set we’ve seen.

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Road Pollution Doesn’t Just Come From Exhaust

Alumni from Innovation Design Engineering at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art want to raise awareness of a road pollution source we rarely consider: tire wear. If you think about it, it is obvious. Our tires wear out, and that has to go somewhere, but what surprises us is how fast it happens. Single-use plastic is the most significant source of oceanic pollution, but tire microplastics are next on the naughty list. The team calls themselves The Tyre Collective, and they’re working on a device to collect tire particles at the source.

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Airless Tire For Your Car: Michelin Says 2024, Here’s What They’re Up Against

The average motorist has a lot to keep track of these days. Whether its how much fuel is left in the tank, how much charge is left in the battery, or whether or not the cop behind noticed them checking Twitter, there’s a lot on a driver’s mind. One thing they’re not thinking about is tires, theirs or anyone else’s for that matter. It a testament to the state of tire technology, they just work and for quite a long time before replacements are needed.

There hasn’t been a major shift in the underlying technology for about fifty years. But the times, they are a changing — and new tire technology is claimed to be just around the corner. Several companies are questioning whether the pneumatic tire is the be-all and end all, and futuristic looking prototypes have been spotted at trade shows the world over. Continue reading “Airless Tire For Your Car: Michelin Says 2024, Here’s What They’re Up Against”