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Tire treads wear down very slowly over time as the surface of the road scrubs off particles of rubber.
My idea would be to build a system very similar to driving your car through a car wash. As the car is pulled along through the system, various steps are accomplished along the way. Step one might be
to spin the tires and sand, wire brush or scrub them. Step two might be for the tire to roll over a heated surface to get them up to a certain temperature. Step three may be to roll the tires over a rubber glue, perhaps a two part system composed of the glue, then a catalyst. (The two part system would be necessary so that the glue cures only on the tires and not gum up the equipment). These steps are preparing the tire for the next step, which is the application of a new contact surface. This is accomplished by the tire rolling over a layer of finely ground powdered rubber, which would adhere to the tire, building up to an optimal engineered thickness. Another trip over a heated surface to quickly cure the rubber, and a new rubber surface has been applied to the contact surfaces of the tire, extending the life of the tires by 'X' amount of miles. The car would simply enter at one end and come out the other with a new thin coat of rubber applied to the tires.
To accomodate application specific tire compounds, you could have different "car washes" applying different blends of rubber. (EG. One for regular passenger tires, one for trucks, one for performance tires etc.).
The customer would be instructed to bring his vehicle back for another coating at pre- determined, thousand miles intervals, just as you do now for scheduled oil changes.
Tires would need to pass certain criteria before being allowed to have this service performed. IE they would need to have a minimum amount of tread remaining, even tread-wear, not over a certain age based on the DOT number on the tire etc.
The "raw" material for this system would come from of course, old tires, of which we seem to have an un-ending supply.
Recap (definition 2)
[jurist, Oct 08 2005]
Tire/Tyre Recap Equipment
Some of the equipment involved in the more standard processes of tire/tyre recapping. [jurist, Oct 08 2005]
||They already re-tread truck tires . Those are what you see on the side of the roads, really dangerous chunks of rubber. Anyway how would you make a grooved surface on the tires?. Or would all cars just have slicks. Since different cars have different tire sizes how would you make the layer of rubber the same all the way around, or would we all be driving on lop sided tires?
||This idea could be more succinctly titled "Rolling Recap". But I still have to agree with [Antegrity]'s general objection to the practice.
||Antegrity / Jurist: Tires themselves have their own unique tread patterns and sizes.
The preparation steps do not remove the tread pattern, it only roughs it up to prepare it for the application of the rubber. It does not matter what size the tire is because it is rolling along a surface as the various steps are done. (They are not removed from the vehicle, ). As the tire rolls through the system, only the small areas of the tread pattern pick up the rubber. (Similar to ink being applied to typeset type in a printing operation. If the tire rolled over ink and then paper, it would leave a tread pattern). The coating is very thin (1/16") and not applied in thick slabs like a re-treaded tire. Still, this very thin layer will take 5,000 or 10,000 miles to wear down. Pa've:
The amount of heat required is not enough to blow the tire and is not a problem. You are not heating the rubber up to a melting point, you are only applying just enough heat necessary to cure the glue and bond the rubber to the tire. The amount of heat would be similar to what a tire experiences driving on a sun baked hot asphalt street in summer. Also, as you drive the car, the heat generated by the tire would be enough to further strengthen the bond.