Vehicle: Car: Wheel Alternative
Layered Wheel?   (+3, -2)  [vote for, against]
a wheel made up of narrower wheels.

This idea is for a set of front wheels (or any wheels that make the car turn) that would make it easier to turn and wear less while stopped.

Each wheel would probably be made up of 3-5 narrow wheels attached to a single rim. All but one section of the wheel would be able to advance or retard a few degrees different than the fixed section of wheel with a small amount of resistance. The location of the steering joint determines which section of wheel is the stationary one. For example; if there is a 5-section wheel, and the steering point is a little off center of the width of the wheel, then the second section from the inside might be the stationary section.

I don't know if it would even be possible to make a wheel like this and still allow room for brakes and steering components in the normal location of a car.

Pneumatic tires probably wouldn't work for this either, so I'm imagining narrow versions of the Tweel™.

The hub of this wheel would probably make it heavier than most wheels, but with strong light-weight materials, it might be comparable.
-- BJS, May 27 2007

The Tweel™ http://www.michelin...lease01102005a.html
...revolutionary non-pneumatic Tweel™ [BJS, May 27 2007]

US patent 6,298,932 http://patft.uspto....98932&RS=PN/6298932
looks like this is particularly useful in big vehicles [xaviergisz, May 27 2007]

Incorporate a deformable section between the two subwheels to permit differential movement. Could also provide some degree of suspension, allowing even stiffer main suspension inboard of the wheel.
-- elhigh, May 27 2007

elhigh, could you elaborate on the deformable section that permits differential movement?
-- BJS, May 27 2007

[BJS] It's probably made of vulcanized rubber, reinforced with steel wire.

Or, looking at that Tweel page (and Wikipedia on the subject), polyurethane spokes.
-- Cosh i Pi, May 27 2007

[xaviergisz] I'm astonished the patent office granted that patent. I'd have thought it was a rather obvious extension of the concept of the differential gear - especially since vehicles with at least four (equally spaced) wheels in line, with differential drive to all four, have been in use for ages for moving extremely heavy loads. Is obviousness not an obstacle to patent grant in the US?
-- Cosh i Pi, May 27 2007

// Is obviousness not an obstacle to patent grant in the US? //

[Cosh i Pi], only if it's patently obvious.
-- marklar, May 27 2007

[-1], I must admit the claims (claims = the legally enforceable part of the patent) do appear fairly broad, but I think they're probably valid.

//Is obviousness not an obstacle to patent grant in the US? //

Yes, obviousness is an obstacle to being granted a patent. The problem with passing judgement on what is obvious and what is not obvious is that it's very subjective. For example, if you find someone smart enough, *everthing* is obvious. The question thus becomes "well if you could have invented XYZ, why didn't you?"

The patent system was developed, in part, to encourage all those smart people to publish their brilliance, rather than let it be lost in their brains.

The patent database then becomes a huge repository of knowledge and prior art. This makes the job of the patent examiner much more objective - comparing a patent application with what *is* rather than what *could* have been.

One more thing to keep in mind when reading patents: it's the claims which are the legally enforceable bit (which are usually fairly specific), not the broad concept in the abstract.

btw, I'm a patent examiner (in the Australian patent office) so I could wax lyrical about patents all day (though I'll spare you the excruciating details).
-- xaviergisz, May 27 2007

[xaviergisz] [21 Quest] Interesting if the Star Wars thing predates the patent - that's SO close to the patent I'd have thought it was prior art.
-- Cosh i Pi, May 27 2007

I once cited a scene in a movie (Donnie Darko) as part of a patent examination. I think it would be drawing a long bow to cite the Star Wars vehicle though - there is certainly no 'enabling disclosure' showing all the features in the claim.
-- xaviergisz, May 27 2007

Lt, I'm afraid I have no grand unified theory to share (although in my younger days I did write a paper/manifesto that fully explained the 'human condition')

I cited the scene in Donnie Darko where the teacher explains that all emotion can be represented on a love/fear scale. The patent was essentially the same thing, and was used as a method to assess the psychological state of a person. It was a good citation because it not only anticipated the claims, it also expressed my feeling about the invention (i.e. as with Donnie, I wasn't impressed).
-- xaviergisz, May 28 2007

Damnit LT you beat me to it!
-- jhomrighaus, May 28 2007

Most of the previous annotations don't appear to me to relate to the idea...

I would like to see an image of the Juggernaut that shows the wheels 3 sections.
-- BJS, May 30 2007

BJS, sorry for taking the discussion on a tangent.

I think you need to elaborate on how each wheel is rotated at different speeds.

One way to do this would be using coaxial drive shafts; the wheel furthest from the vehicle connected to the centre-most drive shaft, the wheel closest to the vehicle connected to the outer-most drive shaft.

Another way to do this is rotate one of the wheels and then have a CVT transmitting rotation to the next wheel, then another CVT to the next wheel etc. I'll illustrate this later today.
-- xaviergisz, May 30 2007

[xaviergisz] I meant for this idea to be able to replace a normal set of wheels. It wouldn't have any special drive shafts, connectors, or driving mechanisms.

The different sections of wheels would not be able to continue rotating at different speeds, the different sections would only be able to rotate in a direction for a few degrees different than the main section of wheel, after that, it would then have to rotate back in the opposite direction to where it was originally.
-- BJS, Jun 01 2007

Ah, ok (I should have read your description more carefully). Great idea [+]
-- xaviergisz, Jun 01 2007

...but the wheels might might become locked in their relative positions.

Driving in a straight line, the drive wheel would quickly move ahead (in relative rotation) of the other linked wheels. The linked wheels would be dragged by the drive wheel to their maximum rotational extent. Thus the wheels would be only allow for relative angular displacement in a turn in one direction (hope that makes sense).
-- xaviergisz, Jun 01 2007

random, halfbakery