Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Electric Tires

Use the steel belting in tires to drive the car. Or brake.
  [vote for,

This is one of those " I know there's a decent idea in there somewhere" type ideas. Copper plate the steel cords before they become a tire. Then through strategic winding you could achieve a secondary benefit to the steel belted radial. Motive force. Properly designed hubs can distribute electricity. Fender mounted coils or magnets can act as stators. Of course the fender will have to ride the suspension with the wheel. The force is applied almost exactly where the rubber meets the road and cuts out the middle man. I see regenerative braking as well.
Spare parts, Jul 20 2004

The TWEEL http://www.gizmag.com/go/3603/
An airless tire. [BJS, Mar 27 2007]


       So this would substitute for the alternator?
bungston, Jul 20 2004

       I think that the proposal is for the steel belts in a tire to become the rotor windings of a motor.
half, Jul 20 2004

       So essentially your wheels are your engine?
silverstormer, Jul 21 2004

       I cannot claim to be an expert on cars, but Imy understanding is that the alternator is basiclaly an electrical generator, turned by the engine, and used to recharge the battery.   

       So cars have one of these already. Maybe 4 would be better? This idea might be used for the hybrid vehicles.
bungston, Jul 21 2004

       Or electric parade floats.
Worldgineer, Jul 21 2004

       Interesting... It would be easy enough to arrange the wires as a cage rotor of an induction motor. You could use that to power the wheels or provide regenerative braking, but there are several factors that work against this design.   

       Air gap: Normally you want a very small gap between the rotor and the stator. The bigger the gap, the less power you get out of the motor. (Or the magnetic fields need to be stronger to compensate.)   

       Rubber: Normally the space between the wires of a cage rotor is filled with a ferromagnetic material. Having it filled with rubber and air also reduces the power that the motor can produce. (or requires stronger fields)   

       Wires: Normally, the wires in the rotor are pretty thick. This will either make the tire very heavy, or if you decide to use thin wires, will further reduce the power that the motor can produce before overheating.   

       Heat: Rubber is not a really good conductor of heat. The wires in the rotor heat up, and need to be cooled. This isn't too hard when the metal in the rotor can conduct the heat away from the wires. With the wires embeded in rubber it seem like you'd need to reduce the power you're producing to avoid melting the rubber.   

       So it could theoretically work, but very half-baked. +
scad mientist, Jul 21 2004

       Forgive me for sounding like a moron, but if you put copper in the tires, wouldn't you be grounding the car, thus making it susceptible to lightning and the like?
yabba do yabba dabba, Jul 21 2004

       You'd still have rubber between the wires and the road.
Worldgineer, Jul 21 2004

       I'd originally thought of this as an electric/hybrid adaptation. [scad mientist], all great points. You could close that air/rubber gap by ditching the fender idea and putting the the stator inside the tire, but I can't figure out how to spin the tire, hold the stator stationary and maintain an air tight seal for the tire. Air bearings or air seals? This would allow for dynamic suspension by controlling the air in the tires. Also there would have to be a sizable flat spot on the internal type stator to prevent damage due to bumps and such. As for heat, the tire/rotor should dissipate some heat to the air as spins. The torque advantage by applying the force at the outermost edge of the wheel should be decent. The reduced weight of a car without a transmission and drive shafts, etc. might overcome some of the inefficiencies. Essentially you'd be changing your windings every 60,000 miles and tire recycling would take off because of the valuable metal inside.
Spare parts, Jul 21 2004

       Well this would work very nicely if you could get rid of all that pesky air. A solid wheel would let you build a splendid rotor/stator combo with some rubber tread on the outside. I believe the lunar rovers used something like this.   

       Thinking more, it seems to me that the days of the pneumatic tyre/tire are numbered anyway. Hey, it's old technology. With fast, highly sensitive, computer-controlled suspension systems, there's simply no need for the air any more, as the suspension can handle everything, including noise isolation.   

       So a good solid electric wheel run by a hybrid (for now) powerplant must surely be the way to go. A solid croissant for the idea.
phlogiston, Jul 21 2004

       I had this idea today with the coils in the fenders, but I thought of using normal magnets instead of the magnetic cords in the tires.
BJS, Mar 27 2007

       //Thinking more, it seems to me that the days of the pneumatic tyre/tire are numbered anyway. Hey, it's old technology. With fast, highly sensitive, computer-controlled suspension systems, there's simply no need for the air any more, as the suspension can handle everything, including noise isolation.//   

       Link please? I'm pretty sure this is a long way off happening.
Custardguts, Mar 28 2007

       [yabba], the reason that cars protect you from lightning is the cage of steel surrounding the occupants, not the rubber of the tires. If lightning has enough voltage to go through miles of air it will have enough voltage to go through a few inches of rubber.
discontinuuity, Mar 28 2007


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