Soon, tyres that warn drivers when they are about to go flatDecember 19th, 2007 - 5:41 pm ICT by admin
Melbourne, December 19 (ANI): Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, are working on a car tyre that can warn the driver that it is about to be flat.
Professor Gary Krutz, director of Purdue’s Electrohydraulic Center, has revealed that the research team has found a way to make the whole tyre into a type of sensor.
Though tyres that warn drivers when their pressure is low are in existence, the researchers say that the new system also allows the tyre to detect problems like cuts, punctures, manufacturing defects, imbalance, degradation and improper mounting.
“What we have is a multi-layer of different materials on the entire tyre with different electrical properties. That allows us to then measure anywhere in the tyre,” News in Science quoted Professor Krutz as saying.
He revealed that his team had developed a sensing system that could pick up distinct electrical signals in the tyre layers, and detect changes such as uneven air pressure that might lead to a flat or reduce wear.
“The whole thing is like a doughnut. If you poke it anywhere, like with a nail, we can tell you where it is at and that you poked it,” Krutz said.
He also revealed that the tyres would be made from specially selected rubber, and that the technology would draw on the properties of the materials themselves, which has not been done before in tyres.
The researcher said that the tyre would be fixed with a special chip to probe the different layers, and quickly relay safety information to the driver.
“We’re talking less than a second. If the tyre starts coming apart like on truck treads, it will give you a warning a long time in advance,” he said.
According to Krutz, the new technology could also be applied to tyres in the construction and mining industry, on lawnmowers and aircraft.
He revealed that his team had already created a hydraulic hose that could warn of failure.
The researchers are now working on technology for use in orthopaedic devices to detect wear and tear in artificial hips and knees, he added.
“We thought it might work on rubber and lo and behold, it did,” Krutz said.
The research team has so far developed 24 tyres, and is planning to patent the technology and license it to manufacturers.
Krutz says that the most likely first use would be in racing cars, where the cost of a flat is high. He reckons that the technology would cost consumers about 50 dollars per tyre.
“You are blowing up million-dollar vehicles,” he said. (ANI)
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