Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Dec 22

Reinventing The Wheel

Posted in Energy Inventions | Transportation

Reinventing The Wheel When necessary and conducive atmosphere is being created for research in alternative energy field we are getting so many diverse projects in many fields that sometimes it seems mind boggling. When we pay attention to a vehicles’ tire its mostly when it is flat and we have to change it in most unlikely places. But scientists are trying to develop tires that change shapes according to the conditions of the road. Imagine a tire which can change its shape to that best suited for the conditions of the road. This shape of tire contains green benefits too in the form of reduced travel times to increased fuel efficiency. Farmers often have to traverse in rough terrain and there tires can help them in combating the problem attached with soil compaction caused by current wheel designs. This problem has another add on too. Soil compaction leads towards the losses in production nearing 20%. These tires can also be helpful in roads that are facing the problem of flooding or have mud, rocks, holes, or sand. The re-mold-able wheels can easily adjust themselves to newer height and width on command. What else one needs while sitting behind a wheel!

The wheel is christened as the ‘Pumplon.’ Because it assumes the shape of a pumpkin or a melon while stretched in its two extreme forms. The origin and creation of the ‘Pumplon’ rests with the Brazilian Osmar Vicente Rodriguez. He is the professor of industrial design. According to Brazil’s A Tribuna, when he witnessed the problems faced by ordinary commuters who is using public transportation and difficulties faced by farmers in rural areas due to poor roads and flooding in the rainy season, the idea of ‘Pumplon’ took root in his mind. He believes his wheel improvement may put an end to these transport issues.

How Does it Work?

How the ‘Pumplon’ works? It mainly depends on a steel shaft. Just like a magician this steel shaft can perform any tricks. The steel shaft can expand and retract by means of a rotary mechanism, pneumatic or hydraulic. The steel shaft can adjust rings which makes the wheel deformation wider or narrower. In wetter conditions, the narrowest setting is ideal to increase contact pressure; for mud, a wider tire is preferred. This car can behave like an amphibian when the road in inundated. Additionally, the driver can control the shape of individual tires in situations where one or more have become stuck.

Rodriguez, explains about the material of the tires that has been the subject of special consideration, “initially they were steel, but we replaced it with a thermoplastic material, which is easier to produce, lighter and cheaper, and is recyclable. The cover is of vulcanized rubber, similar to that used in tires conventionally, but more flexible to allow changes in size.”

The patent description confirms that these wheels can adapt their shape and dimensions according to the type and condition of the ground surface. The ‘Pumplon’ enjoys the distinction of being the first and only product of its kind in the world. The ‘Pumplon’ can reduce your gas bill near about 30% . It will also be helpful in reducing your travel time and soil compaction in agricultural plantation.

  • Thomas Finger

    Sounds almost pointless for most of the United States where pavement is the main road surface — I am also thinking these must be a shorter life tire — that was not addressed in the article but I don’t see how the integrity can be maintained over a long time span.

  • G.M.

    I believe it could be very useful for all the the world. These wheels would be great in snow conditions, dirt, different conditions of pavement roads and off-road. Durability is questionable, but I believe the tires we use now are just upgrades of the 100 years old invention. It’s time to move on, if it pays back on the road of course.

  • Bob

    Hmmm. They’re certainly innovative, but not really practical for general use here in the US, except off road and farm vehicles. The one problem in off road use is that they are going to lower the frame of the car – possibly too low when in the run soft mode like shown. I think basic tire design is better- let air out when needed and fill it back up again when done

  • wm

    I think it is very useful because they are able to change their shapes according to the conditions of the road. But I am just thinking how long is the life time of these tires.

  • Kosta

    Great idea! Bravo! Excellent decision!

  • Dr Mike

    I wonder what the frictional losses would be if two of them were set as an stepless adjustable gear set for transmission purposes?

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