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Truck Wheels and Tires: Why Study Them?

By James Macro Subscribe to RSS | June 28th 2012 | Views:
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Truck wheels and especially tires may well be the most studied rubber ever to hit the road. They are studied by the National Transportation Safety Board, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by tire manufactures all over the world. They are also studied by engineers that build roads and bridges and by companies that supply materials for companies that build roads and bridges. They may well be the apex of tire research worldwide. Why you might ask, but the answer is simple, because over the road truck tires are at the center of our lives.

You probably don't think of them as the center of your life, but actually they are. In most places, trucks and the tires they roll on are the final stop or the starting point of what drives business in the world today, literally. Everything at the local store most likely gets there by truck. The supplies needed by the local manufacturing plant to produce its goods are delivered by truck. Then when those materials have been formed into the desired products, they again most likely leave by truck.

So why is it so important to study truck tires and wheels so much? There are many reasons that immediately come to mind. The first and foremost is safety. Safety is a concern for the load they haul, safety for the drivers that drive the trucks that haul the loads and especially for those of us that share the roadways with over the road trucks that haul our goods and supplies.

I mentioned that engineers study truck tires and wheels. They study them for many good and sometimes complex reasons. Ever drive on a stretch of road that seemed like you were running over lots of little bumps especially when slowing for an intersection or stop sign on a highway? I don't mean rumble bumps, but bumps that were wider spaces, and more violent then rumble bumps. You may have heard it described as being wash boarded? Usually this is due to heavy trucks making that same slowing or stopping maneuver that you just did. But when a heavy truck tries to stop to fast, the rear wheels can begin to hop a bit. This hopping motion causes the trailers to bounce up and down on the highway causing the surface to become compacted. Over time and repeated truck tire bounce with heavy loads the surface develops a pattern of divots that each succeeding truck follows when attempting to stop on the same stretch of road. The effect is called wash boarding.

Engineers study the tires that are on trucks to better determine how to deal with this problem, which becomes a hazard not only for trucks, but for anyone who uses the roadway. They study all aspects of the tires from the weight that each tire is allowed to support by law, to the materials that they are made from to better understand how they will need to design roadways and bridges in the future to avoid such problems. This is just one small example of why engineers need to study truck tires. The actual list of reasons is much too long to be covered in this simple information piece.

Government watchdog groups such as the NTSB and the NHTSA study tires to keep roads safe for everyone. They too are concerned that the trucks get from point A to point B with as little trouble as possible. They study things like how tires react in different climate situations, how they react to heat and stress. They concern themselves with what happens to an over the road truck tire, when it fails and comes apart on the road way. Because when this happens, lives can easily be at stake. Flying debris from a shredding truck tire can easily cause accidents for other vehicles that share the roadway with the truck. As well, large pieces of tire lying in the middle of the highway can cause accidents. It is their job to study the tires in all operation arenas' to ensure that the tens of millions of tires on the millions of trucks on our roads are safe

Truck tire manufactures study the tires they make to see how well they actually perform in real world situations. They do this to get insight into new and better tires designs, tires that will outperform existing ones for handling in all weather conditions. They learn as much as possible to be able to construct tires that last longer, run quieter and are more fuel efficient than those they will be replacing.

James Macro - About Author:
Author james has written many article like this is the National Tire and Wheel one of the best articles written by him

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