Tamil Selvan Natarajan was inspired by sea cucumber. It is soft in the normal state. As soon as someone touches her she stiffens. Natarajan is a doctoral student at the Dresden University of Technology. You might think he is a zoologist. But is wrong. He is writing his doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. His topic is the car tire. Sometimes it should be soft, sometimes as protection against aquaplaning, hard. In Natarajans tire rubber fillers are incorporated, which trigger exactly this effect. Heat softens the tire so that it nestles against the road. He gets hard when it gets cold. The filler is called calcium sulfate, which the doctoral student modified so that he can absorb water. Then he becomes ten times as stiff.

Nanoparticles report the condition of the road

Natarajan is one of three graduate students who give the hoop a certain amount of wisdom. Eshwaran Subramani Bhagavatheswaran has provided the rubber with tiny amounts of highly conductive carbon nanoparticles. The special loads during braking, rolling or accelerating change the flow of current through the tire. From these signals, the on-board computer concludes the condition of the road, such as on ice slush or slush. The computer immediately changes the configuration of the landing gear with the aim of optimizing traction.

Previous attempts to install sensors in tires failed. The additional components made from non-rubber materials led to imperfections that allowed the air to escape.

Autonomous driving is advanced

Third in the league of researchers whose goal is the smart car tire is Aladdin Sallat. He has chemically altered the rubber net that forms the base of the tire so that it repairs itself when damaged, such as through a nail that drills into it. For this purpose it was necessary to modify the fillers.

"Smart tires can prevent accidents and significantly advance autonomous driving. Our goal is to produce research results that use conventional mixing and processing methods, so that smart tire rubbers can be produced not only in the laboratory, but also with existing industrial technology, "says Professor Gert Heinrich from the Institute of Polymer Materials of the TU Dresden.

via TU Dresden

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