Energy Return Wheel (ERW)

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by EndLightEnd, Apr 18, 2009.

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  1. EndLightEnd This too shall pass. Registered Senior Member

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    This thing is too cool. It improves the efficiency of multiple aspects of ANY car you put it on, never goes flat, and fits on any car.

    http://www.energyreturnwheel.com/videoplayer/video/VideoPlayer.html

    Select the video that says ERW_Animation in the top right to get a good video on how this wheel works.

    The only problem is, corporations are not going to be interested in this idea because it has poor profit margins. This is the kind of wheel you only need to sell once every decade (if that), this is not good for big business. Hopefully though we start seeing these on the road soon.
     
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  3. PieAreSquared Woo is resistant to reason Registered Senior Member

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    that is cool.. thanks for the link

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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Normal wheels last a decade too. The rubber is still going to wear out. It's replacing air, which is light, for a steel spring, which is heavy. I don't see the advantage, expect you can't get flats.
     
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  7. PieAreSquared Woo is resistant to reason Registered Senior Member

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    most tires have steel belts, that should offset some of the weight difference.. solid rubber would reduce molding costs and perhaps allow different rubber compounds with better wear characteristics.

    also may eliminate some environmental concerns

    I would be more concerned about the unsprung weight ratio and wear and tear on suspension components
     
  8. scorpius a realist Valued Senior Member

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  9. EndLightEnd This too shall pass. Registered Senior Member

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    Yea I have seen that tire before as well, in my opinion though the ERW is better. And I hadnt thought about the mud thing, but its not a hard fix.
     
  10. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    Peer review time! Well, not a peer review really, I'm not a car guy or anything, but I had a thought or two.

    One of the videos shows the outer metal ring deflecting a bit over a speed bump. While cool, I gotta wonder, what happens if you hit a bump hard enough to plastically deform that hoop to where it's permanently warped? Also, how would this thing handle if you clipped a curb (as one does sometimes), and put weight on only, say, the outer %25 of the tire surface? Would you warp the metal too much in that case? Also, I can't really tell what the spring loading mechanism is, are they little lumps of rubber or actually springs or what?

    They probably got alot of these answers, I'd just like to see some specs or something.

    Cool idea, makes me think of a skateboard wheel with internal shock absorbing, would definitely get better millage. However, the flexible surface of a radial tire can better conform to an uneven road surface. And the mud thing, that'd be a bitch, could use a non-load-bearing sidewall or something to fix that.

    Captain know-it-all, AWWWWAAAYYYY!!!!

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  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Pure fucking genius. It seems to have diamond shaped ruber membrains for spokes. It looks like the weight load is not pushed on the bottom spokes as much as it is pulled on the top spokes like the whole tread of the wheel is being held by rubber band tension (well rubber membrane tension). This is definitely an improvement of Michelin's tweel with its hard rubber spokes that simply bend and heat up causing increased not reduced roll friction as well as bend asymetrically thus greatly increasing wear on the rubber and the failure rate of the spokes. It also looks like they have tension adjusters for each spoke... I pray to god if this becomes a product they factory set those and never have to set them again because that would be a wicked pain in the ass setting each one manually! Also I a little concerned about how they plan to change treads, I mean the tread is going to wear raw like all car threads, so how do they get the tread off without having to replace the whole dam super tweel? This is certainly going to cost a lot more then a normal inflatable tire but if it does provide less friction, increase braking and turning performance and lower failure rates then inflatable/deflatable tires as they claim this might be the beginning of the end of the inflatable tire, starting with high price cars of course. this would also be useful with in-hub electric motors as it would assist in heat dissipation.

    I'm not going to start condemning it like hypewaders outright, but I would like to see years of hard testing to determine it's dependability, traction and performance in all benign and extreme conditions under varying levels of wear, before declaring this anything more then just a great idea (many great ideas turn out to be completely impractical or implausible when tested in reality).

    I'm not sure the failure of this super tweel is possible in the manner hyperwaders suggest as it would require all the spokes to snap off for the metal band to separate from the hub and become a whirly death kill-a-majig, as is several hundred pounds of rubber coming off a semi has decapitated people when it shot up into and through the window shield of cars behind semis, this super tweel would come off like a whole tire separates from the axle of a car, I've seen that happen and yes it is a whirly death killi-a-majig but it is an intrinsic problem of all tires.
     
  12. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator

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    Sorry for jumping your post, EF.

    Electric Fetus: "this super tweel would come off like a whole tire separates from the axle of a car, I've seen that happen and yes it is a whirly death killi-a-majig but it is an intrinsic problem of all tires."

    I think it could be much worse than that- A severe divergent imbalance, loss of vehicle control, with a centrifugal explosion of metal parts (with much more destructive energy than rubber fragments) is what I anticipate. Unless you're considering an ERW that ejects itself at the forst sign of trouble. It's hard to imagine the violence of the sudden imbalance and breakup of a fast-turning assembly of metal parts, unless you've experienced it. In my case, it's occasionally involved engines and propellers on airplanes. I dislike it when things fly apart like that, and it would be even worse if such violence gripped an axle on a car at speed. Anyway, here's the post I had deleted above:



    The drag produced in pneumatic tires is traded for a larger contact patch, and for primary suspension with very low unsprung mass (a great advantage in reducing rebound and dynamic oscillation). We could suspend our cars like hovercraft, completely eliminate rolling friction, and have a smooth ride- but we're also keenly interested in reliable traction, so that we stay in firm control. That's why the drag penalty that goes with a pneumatic tire is well worth the bargain.

    The ERW lacks this important advantage. While Britek touts reduced rolling drag, they are not showing us comparitive braking and cornering videos (we know that animations are not comparitive tests). Neither are they showing their product taking the severe abuse that pneumatic road (and aircraft) tires handle well, every day, as weed eater guy noted above. If they really have "re-invented the wheel" as they claim... well, they've done it very badly.

    By just overinflating pneumatic tires, we can reduce friction just like the ERW does. We also lose traction in the same way, because we're left with a much smaller contact patch. Overinflation also compromises in the very same way the first stage of suspension, that normally absorbs the short-amplitude bumps with minimal rebound, minimal imbalance, and minimal harmonics transmitted to the axles. The low mass of a compressed-air spring, and the damping effect of heating rubber and air are among reasons why pneumatic tires perform much better than more rigid hoop assemblies. Hoops are a poor substitute for air damping, because they go out of balance to a much larger degree, than when the flexible contact-surface of a pneumatic tire distorts. Hoops, or solid wheels can't absorb the insult where it occurs, and instead transmit it on into further unwelcome motion. That's why Britek must reduce the overall diameter, in order to keep the wild hula-dance from banging into the upper wheel-wells on the bumps, and to keep them from banging into the lower fenders on braking, acceleration, and turns. What does all the extra motion do to the ride and feel? I don't really know, but I'm sure it can't be good.

    On consistently even surfaces, a lower profile pneumatic tire does have advantages in terms of stiffer sidewalls. That doesn't mean it keeps getting better as we reduce air damping to nothing, and seek a purely mechanical means of absorbing the initial hit of a bump in the road. Britek's presentation of the dangers of pneumatic tires and their toll in lives is self-serving fear-mongering, that conspicuously ignores the hazards that their own machinery introduces by the inherent dynamics. The entire outer ERW tire circumference and considerable mass shifts and rebounds with every bump, however minor. Britek is not elaborating on the modes of their assembly's displacements and distortions (static and dynamic) and modes of failure, which could be merely annoying at low speed, but absolutely vicious when the hoops are spinning fast.

    There are many technologies now in use greatly mitigating the hazards of pneumatic blowout. Radial and even run-flat tires allow much greater friction on failure (a good warning) while preserving traction. The images that Britek presents in their videos of demolished pneumatic tires are examples of tires run long after failure. That's not representative of how modern tires are designed to hold together on failure, to allow a safe stop and changing of the lightest possible assembly- a rolling device that's filled with air. Nor are they being honest about what the aftermath would look like if their product came apart at highway speed. Those who believe that whirling, complicated metal assemblies are safer than the ubiquitous pneumatic tire should watch a Ben Hur movie, or at least imagine the implications of an ERW coming apart at 1000 RPM or more. Solid stone wheels would be safer than that. In real life, "ERW" failure will require a lot more to sort out than a jack and a lugwrench by the side of the road- when those parts let go, both cars and people will be in need of major repairs, if they can be saved at all, and the debris in the road behind an ERW incident will be considerably more hazardous.

    For normal road use, entirely replacing compressed air with metal hoops, padding, and sliding linkages is not a brilliant breakthrough; it's just (sorry) junk science and junk marketing. If that isn't enough for you, watch the video as the proponent insults us with the charlatan insinuation that the "membrane" isolator converts vibration into rotary force. You can watch too, as patents are misrepresented as indication of a practical breakthrough. Whenever you are presented with such promotional tricks for untested products, it's prudent to be critical. Get the blingy free-spinning plastic hubcaps if you're gullible about this sort of nonsense, but PLEASE DON'T put anything like an "ERW" on your car and drive it at speed on the open road. Britek has not re-invented the wheel- at least not in a comparably practical form.

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    Last edited: May 29, 2009
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Yes but how likely is the chance of the metal fragmenting like that? When a whole tire comes off it hub, its rim is made of metal, no imagination is require: goregasm provides on occasions the kill-a-majig potential of a flying wheel rubber tire on metal rim and all. And usually these things don't just pop off they shake off because of extreme vibration cause something made then horribly unbalanced like the rim was deformed or the hub its self came loose.

    Contact patch is not everything in traction, its why spiked wheels and shoe don't slip and slide as your implying, if the tread is made of an appropriate material and configuration it would still provide the same or even better traction then a rubber tire, of course this would be at the risk of dragging asphalt.

    And I agree I would like to see such testing before believing their claims, but its erroneous to say they have not nor possible could defeated these problems.

    I'm not sure you can assume that of their rubber tension suspended wheel, its new concept with parameters of action that can only be guess at, and "well it will behave like a metal kill-a-majig, its crap!" is certainly an extensive guess.

    Could be, which is why we should see such testing, but assuming it is, is overly dismissive.

    I don't think that is what their design is at all, if it was I would assume your estimate on its performance would be correct.

    Again your just assuming they are crap with no testing for or againts.

    by the way I just looked up "super tweel" on youtube, funny stuff, there are these videos of a guy explaining the concept (of a rubber tension suspended wheel), with insanly crude models... imagine a bum on the street with a thick eastern accent and you ask him to explain detailed concepts of mechanical engineering, and he does!
     
  14. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator

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    ElectricFetus: "Yes but how likely is the chance of the metal fragmenting like that?"

    It's far more likely with the ERW than with a pneumatic tire: The ERW concept is just more complicated: A higher parts-count, more high-stress features, and a much greater propensity for imbalances and catastrophic failure.

    "When a whole tire comes off it hub, its rim is made of metal, no imagination is require: goregasm provides on occasions the kill-a-majig potential of a flying wheel rubber tire on metal rim and all."

    I remember pulling over with a trailer that had lost a wheel- as I climbed out to investigate, along came the departed wheel, right at me! And you're right, I've twice lost wheels from flying machines on landing. Getting safely stopped minus a wheel was a lot less worry than where the wayward wheel was going. In the wheels-coming-off-the-wagon scenario, the ERW is just as lethal as a pneumatic assembly- but it isn't really as likely to stay together, is it?

    "usually these things don't just pop off they shake off because of extreme vibration cause something made then horribly unbalanced like the rim was deformed or the hub its self came loose."

    These are greater dangers with the ERW concept- there is far more risk of divergent imbalance and disintegration.

    "Contact patch is not everything in traction"

    It's where the rubber meets the road. And it's where, in spite of Britek's misleading claims, every tire will always have wear and need replacing, at least until we develop a nano- or biotech healing process on down the road. But I'll want to see some real tests before I buy that as well.

    "its why spiked wheels and shoe don't slip and slide"

    We don't normally drive around on spikes, because it would be very inefficient in many ways, road maintenance for instance.

    "if the tread is made of an appropriate material and configuration it would still provide the same or even better traction then a rubber tire, of course this would be at the risk of dragging asph..."

    They're using rubber. I don't think the contact material is at issue here. My reservations are about whether the contact-patch is allowed to adapt to and isolate irregularities as a pneumatic tire capably does, and whether the mechanism replacing the pneumatic system is more complex and hazardous in terms of structure, behavior and wear.

    "its erroneous to say they have not nor possible could defeated these problems."

    It is completely reasonable to point out the many serious problems that this complication of the common tire presents.

    "its new concept with parameters of action that can only be guess at, and "well it will behave like a metal kill-a-majig, its crap!" is certainly an extensive guess."

    It's not a guess at all to observe that spinning up a lot of various metal parts, and subjecting them to the hazards of the road presents obvious danger.

    "I don't think that is what their design is [replacing compressed air with metal hoops, padding, and sliding linkages] at all, if it was I would assume your estimate on its performance would be correct."

    Take another look. The design replaces the reliable pneumatic principle of the common tire with a much more complex substitute, and introduces many more problems than it solves.

    "Again your just assuming they are crap with no testing for or againts."

    That's right- the reasonable onus is on any promoter of a safety-critical device such as this to demonstrate serious safety testing from the outset. In the conspicuous absence and avoidance of such testing, I do think it reasonable to assume that what is being presented is... crap.

    Because testing standards are so neglected in this promotion, I am prepared to assume not only that the product is crap, but that there's something even crappier afoot: The promoters may have become aware of how crappy (hazardous) their ERW is, yet may still be promoting it for profit.

    'I just looked up "super tweel"'

    The Tweel concept, on the other hand (that is, simple open-cell airless suspension) has reasonable low-speed applications. But the tweel concept still isn't competitive with pneumatic tires on the highway- weight and balance being primary reasons. Sealed compressed-air elastic structures work very, very well in high-speed tire applications. We see them everywhere, and we get annoyed when they go flat (which is the sentiment I think Britek is attempting to capitalize on) but trusty pneumatic tires really do deserve our respect and care as very efficient and critical devices that are very hard to improve on through further mechanical and structural complexity.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2009
  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    hypewaders,

    I don't see it as more prone to catastrophic failure, your simply assuming it is without detailed knowledge of its components parts, heck we are even left guessing to its mechanism, for all we know its components could be several fold more resilient then a hunk of rubber, I think this is were testing is required but speculation at this point is useless. For example we assume the tread is rubber its black right, how the fuck do we know its not something else? Again your assuming without any evidence that these problems are not corrected, true there is no proof they have been corrected but I would be willing to wait and see before rejecting the idea outright.

    Oh no I guess that means we should get rid of transmissions, axles and engines then!

    Again you assume it has not solved these problems, simplicity is not always better, greater all around performance can sometimes be achieved with complex designs, Power plant turbines for example.

    Wow in a world run by you technology development would be halved, prototypes must work well in all categories or else it crap, I can see it now its the 1800's and your say "what this an inflatable tire, why it could pop and cause catastrophic failure, its crap, we should stay with solid rubber tires."

    No shit. Again watch the "supertweel videos" to get an idea of how this thing works and also to get a good laugh at crude presentation.
     
  16. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator

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    I do greatly admire KISS (keep it simple, sir) engineering. Car transmissions, drive axles, and ICE engines are all good examples of machinery that really has outlived its efficient usefulness- just like the complicated old steam locomotives of the 1800s. Simplicity is the goal and hallmark of excellent engineering. Rarely does a more complicated mechanical device outperform and outlast a simpler one, and this is especially true in high-stress, rough-duty, and safety-critical applications like road tires.

    Britek is appealing for investment without providing any scientific comparison of their concept with the performance of the pneumatic tires that they propose to replace. Britek's promotions conspicuously avoid well-established and routine tire-testing methods. What they seem to be trying to pass off as testing in the videos falls far short. Their coast-downs on a dyno wheel don't impress me much- Comparing an overinflated pneumatic tire with a properly-inflated one would give very similar results as the Britek video- but that's a very far cry from demonstrating superiority in terms of the most important performance and reliability aspects of tires.

    Even their choice of product name- the "Energy Return Wheel"- is pseudo-scientific, to be generous. Because Britek is apparently appealing for investors with empty jargon and hype while side-stepping the science, I'm highly dubious about both the product and Britek's motives in promoting it so superficially.
     
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