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Gecko Grip Tires

Use gecko skin textured tires to get more grip
 
(+4, -4)
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Now that scientists have figured out how geckos stick to walls, and even invented adhesives which mimic the effect, how about putting this material on the surface of car tires, for better grip on the road?
goldbb, Apr 07 2009

The Geico Gecko http://www.geico.co.../word-from-sponsor/
A national mascot who is worth billions [blissmiss, Apr 09 2009]

Gecko Grip tank treads http://m.geek.com/g...37f037b1f73000005/2
Small scale and with tank treads. Same idea. [AusCan531, Nov 14 2011]

[link]






       It occurs to me that a drag racer might have trouble doing a burnout with synthetic gecko textured tires -- they'd have *too much* traction for the front brakes to hold the vehicle back.
goldbb, Apr 08 2009
  

       [+] for look into it further.
FlyingToaster, Apr 08 2009
  

       //... I have a feeling dirt and rain are going to scupper plans for an everyday tyre.//   

       Does rain and dirt thwart geckos?
Loris, Apr 09 2009
  

       Because tyres wear. So unless you plan a growing tyre that can reconstitute the setae you will start experiencing van der walls forces.
4whom, Apr 09 2009
  

       Well you could also advertise for your car insurance on the rims. (see link)
blissmiss, Apr 09 2009
  

       Greco Grip Tyres might be a new form of sportswear worn by participants in Classical Wrestling to counter the slippery olive-oil problem.
zen_tom, Apr 09 2009
  

       I think there is a salad option/comment in there somewhere [zen-tom].
blissmiss, Apr 09 2009
  

       //That was a bit of a rubbish anno//   

       Well if we're going to be childish:   

       Geckos have to cope with wear too - you idiot.
  

       One might have to consider how to either embed the appropriate materials so as to be continuously exposed throughout the tyres lifetime, or to be continuously re-applied to the surface. That's if you don't want a growing tyre, of course.   

       Incidentally, the Wikipedia gecko page includes the following snippet:
//adhesion varies with humidity and is dramatically reduced under water, suggesting a contribution from capillarity. The setae on the feet of geckos are also self cleaning and will usually remove any clogging dirt within a few steps//
  

       So dirt may not be such an issue, but the tyres may not be as good in the wet. Then again, that's true of rubber tyres and people still seem to drive around.
Loris, Apr 09 2009
  

       //It occurs to me that a drag racer might have trouble doing a burnout with synthetic gecko textured tires -- they'd have *too much* traction for the front brakes to hold the vehicle back.//   

       Since they may be at their most useful as a speciality coating for short races, this won't do. I propose some form of small piston to hold the back end of the drag-racer off the ground while they spin their tyres up to speed. I'm not actually sure - is the idea to do this before the lights go green to get their large mass moving? Or is it as I vaguely recall done before the lights come up, to warm up the tyres for better grip later? If it's the latter, you just wouldn't need to do that at all.
Loris, Apr 09 2009
  

       Wouldn't the sound of thousands of little gecko suckers add to the sound pollution problem? phack, phack, phack.....
bofch80, Apr 09 2009
  

       //Now that scientists have figured out how geckos stick to walls//   

       Figuring out is one thing. Recreating is what they've had trouble with. Even moisture in the air or tiny amounts on surfaces will ruin current artificial gecko skins in a matter of minutes. Once they can create self cleaning gecko skin, I'm sure they'll use it for all kinds of things.   

       With regards to tyres though, adhesive isn't going to be much use, you need real macro tread to get a grip (and also to drain water away). Driving sticky tyres would increase drag a lot, and cause lots of problems driving on sand/gravel/dirt etc.
mitxela, Apr 10 2009
  

       [bofch80] That is a question asked nowhere else but the halfbakery I'm guessing.
blissmiss, Apr 10 2009
  

       //I was actually refering to my first anno.//   

       In that case - apology accepted.   

       :-)
Loris, Apr 10 2009
  

       I, for one, will fight tooth and nail to oppose my local Council's right to paint yellow lines on my house and windows!
Dub, Apr 10 2009
  

       Yes, self cleaning is the real issue. A Gecko surface tire would become a dirt surface tire within a 100 yards. The Gecko's pads are self cleaning partially because they rotate the area being used to allow for cleaning. Also and most crutially the rolling motion is incorrect for Gecko adhesion and removal. You need a down and back motion to lock, followed by a forward and up motion to unlock. If a rolling motion were used then it would slide a little to grip and then tear the road surface off as it rolled. (-) A dragster with Gecko tires would gun the engine the tires would slip till they lock and then the whole dragster would attempt to rotate on the now immobile rear axle or tear that piece of tarmac off the strip.
MisterQED, Apr 10 2009
  

       I was thinking flexible pads on the wheel/tyre that as the weight went on opened surface area and engaged van der walls forces. As the wheel turns and the weight comes off the forces are disengaged.   

       Less worry about leaving the hand brake off and ornate stained glass roads would be beautiful.
wjt, Nov 14 2011
  

       I may be wrong, but I think gecko feet need a reasonable amount of force to unstick.   

       The force that holds the gecko to the wall is just Van der Valk's forces - the same forces that happen when any two surfaces are brought together. But the millions of tiny hairs on gecko feet mean that there is excellent contact (which there never is between solid objects unless they're perfectly smooth and flat), so the total force is appreciable.   

       But you still have to apply a force to do the separation. The gecko feet are designed so that, as the foot flexes, the hairs are pulled off the surface a few at a time, and all the stress (the pulling force) only has to "unzip" one row of contact points at a time. This force is very low, so a gecko can peel its foot off the wall with a low force. (In contrast, the glue on adhesive tape has quite a lot of stretch in it, so when you peel tape you have to overcome the adhesive force over a fairly broad area of stretched glue.)   

       Although the force for unpeeling is quite low, that force has to be applied throughout the entire foot-lifting process, and hence significant energy is needed to unpeel the foot.   

       If this were translated to a tyre, therefore, I think you'd waste a lot of energy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 14 2011
  

       Sp: Van der Waals forces
csea, Nov 14 2011
  

       //only has to "unzip" one row of contact points at a time.//   

       Isn't this going to happen at the rear point of the tyre's footprint on the road surface as that part of the tyre flexes and lifts up? If the gecko grip works well for horizontal forces but releases easily for vertical forces (and I dont know if it does) then this would work just as [MB] specifies.   

       I have since posted a [link] where my old alma mater has built a small gecko-grip vehicle with tank treads which presumably release that very way. More surface area than a wheel (or a foot for that matter).   

       //Driving sticky tyres would increase drag a lot, and cause lots of problems driving on sand/gravel/dirt etc.//   

       Perhaps one should just drive on relatively clean, smooth surfaces - like the sides of glass skyscrapers.
AusCan531, Nov 14 2011
  

       Jeesey Pete. I've had to rescue geckos from my stainless steel sink before. I don't know why they can't get out. Maybe humidity is a factor.
Zimmy, Nov 15 2011
  
      
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