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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Equation helps keep Cars Tyres on the road longer

Jamie Condliffe, contributor

Ever wondered how long it's going to be until you have to change the tyres on your car? Wanted to calculate how far around the world one set of treads could take you? Or even just felt like spending a long weekend doing some complex math?
Studded tyreImage via Wikipedia
The solution could well be here. A team of researchers from the School of Automobile Studies at Tongji University, China, have developed a new equation that predicts the rate at which tyres wear. The results could help save the haulage industry millions of dollars - and they might even ease the strain on your pocket, too.

As you'd expect, their results, published in Journal of Vibration and Control, show that wear is related to the contact area on the road, the physical properties of the rubber, the friction between the road and tyre, any skidding that occurs, and the weight of the vehicle.

More interesting than the equation, though, is the analysis that the team performed to find out which parameters affect tyre wear the most - not least because it might mean you don't need to shell out for new tyres so often.

You won't be surprised to find out that the biggest factors contributing to wear are side slip, speed, and the mass of the car itself. That means that if you want your tread to last longer, you should cut down on the skids and speeding, and kick out any unwanted passengers while you're at it. Other big offenders are low tyre pressures - so keep them pumped up - and ambient temperature.

But maybe the biggest shock is that the car's suspension and the road surface that's driven on make hardly any difference to tyre wear at all. So boy racers whose cars feature suspension lowered so far they have to drive slowly down rough streets to avoid damage have one saving grace - they're caring the planet, four tyres at a time.