Transcript

Rubber Cars - A Reality Or A Ridiculous Concept

RUBBER CARS A Reality Or A Ridiculous Concept? There's More To Rubber Than Most People Think BACK IN 2010, JAMES MAY DISCUSSEDA VISION OF RUBBER CARS, SUGGESTING, "I HAVE IN MIND A SANDWICH OF DIFFERENT RUBBERS INCREASING IN DENSITY AND RESILIENCE FROM THE OUTSIDE IN. THIS WOULD MAKE MINOR COLLISIONS UNNOTICEABLE, BE GOOD FOR PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AND WOULD AUTOMATICALLY GRADUATE THE RATE OF OCCUPANT DECELERATION IN A MORE VIGOROUS SHUNT." Five years on, the majority of consumers stilI hold the thought that the only rubber on a car is in the tyres, however in reality, that couldn't be further from the truth. James May had a vision that over the coming years, cars would use rubber for some or all of the following: May went on to suggest, "Not only would a rubber car save us a great deal of heartache and inconvenience, it would actually make small accidents quite amusing." O Bumper Inserts At Corners O The Whole Front & Rear Of ALL Cars Looking across the pond, it is believed by many within the industry that up to 80% of rubber produced throughout the country is used within the automotive field. O The Whole Body 1 80% Looking at both domestic vehicles and F1 cars, we see rubber used for: DOMESTIC CARS The Average road car uses 4 rubber tyres, surrounding their four wheels. Many vehicles now have rubber strips running the length of the side of the car and on the front The floor mats in cars normally found in the driver's leg space and passenger leg space are made from rubber. Rubber sure the mat doesn't slip around under the pedals, ensuring the driver isn't left in any unnecessary tricky situations. used to make and back bumpers. In some cases this makes up the majority of the front or back bumper. WND Vibration isolators/shock absorber mounts are commonly used in vehicle suspension. These are used at the top of suspension and are fixed between the suspension and the connecting chassis so that two metal parts aren't touching. The rubber absorbs the shock from the suspension when travelling over a bump to stop it reaching the other part, otherwise this would lead to cracked parts and substantial damage. An increasing number of car interiors are created using rubber. The rims of cup holders are often lined with a small strip of rubber for extra grip of your beverage. Rubber linings are often used in storage compartments like the glove box and those between the driver and the front seated passenger in order to make them easy to clean. The same concept is also used in the gearstick of manual transmission cars. Thermoplastic elastomers (also referred to as thermoplastic rubbers) are widely used for both sound deadening layers and aesthetic wear layers in vehicles due to their sound insulating and abrasion resistance properties. Silicone coated textiles are used in the manufacture of air bags, replacing previously used neoprene coatings. It has been estimated that, since the turn of the decade, the global requirement for coated air bag fabric has stood at more than 300 million square meters, making it one of the most important growth sectors for coated fabrics in recent years. Timing belts (Cam belts) are made from textile reinforced rubber with developments in material science having had a substantial effect in increasing the lifetime of these belts, seeing changes from natural to synthetic rubbers and polyurethane used as well as the adoption of nylon, Kevlar or carbon fibres in the reinforcement. Wiper blades are another component on Rubber tubing is also used in engines for air filtering. This allows a consistent flow of air between parts of the engine that need it. Engine seals and diaphragms are in most instances made from rubber due to the strong chemical and heat resistant properties of the material. vehicles made from rubber and another which is more commonly known to motorists given the requirement of regular replacement. F1 CARS Rubber is used in motor sport predominantly for tyres. In F1, rubber is used to create different tyres for different weather conditions. Harder tyres are used tactically in order to need only one pit stop. Soft and super soft tyres provide the most grip but deteriorate quickest, so multiple stops are needed. Full wets are the only tyres with considerable treads and can only be used in wet conditions, as if used in dry weather, the rubber will tear up quickly. SI 10 "FIECI ATO For ultimate safety, a rubber bladder has been developed for F1 fuel tanks. Within the regular metal tank sits a rubber bladder which stops fuel leaking if the metal casing is cracked in the event of a crash. A lesser known but vitally important innovation from rubber in F1. Rubber shock absorbers/dampeners are used in F1 I the same way they are used in regular road vehicles. Their suspension is made to withstand different pressures however because F1 cars don't need to be prepared for pot holes and dirt tracks in the same way road vehicles are. THE FUTURE...TODAY! The 'Airbump' technology seen on the Citroen Cactus sees the bodywork of the car having polymeric panels inserted into the doors and bumpers, aimed at preventing the everyday parking scrape. The Airbump panels are made from thermoplastic polyurethane, with small air pockets, much like bubble wrap. Despite what many critics predicted, the technology does work to fend off minor scrapes and bumps and is, in some ways, a realisation of May's 2010 prediction. THE FUTURE.. Whilst May's vision may not fully be seen in vehicles at this stage, the Airbump technology as seen in the Cactus is the first sign that there's more to come. The use of rubber within the automotive industry will continue to grow over the coming years, specifically in the following areas: If the cars of tomorrow use alternative fuels, this in itself will create a new demand for rubber-based products including rubber-based distribution systems will be needed to bring these to consumers; new fuel filling stations, new hoses, new systems in the car itself, and more. If the future brings (as may well be the case) a widespread usage of fuel-cell powered vehicles, this again will bring about a demand for rubber anti-vibration solutions to mount a motor at each wheel. There is an increased discussion into 'intelligent bumpers' which are able to adjust rigidity and energy-absorption capacity dependent upon situations as well as a similar level of intelligence for use in shock absorber systems where electronically equipped rubber mounts alter their geometry according to the behaviour of the car and are able to predict movements and actively balance the vehicle's reactions. Morphing car body surfaces made from rubber for active aerodynamics control are quickly becoming a 'hot topic' within both the rubber manufacturing and automotive industries and the challenge is for manufacturers to both improve handling and reduce C02 emissions. The approach behind this concept rests on the science that an increased down force can improve handling. Rubber is the ideal material for body surfaces which can morph during a drive due to its its mechanical dynamic elastic properties. RUBBER CARS? STILL SOMEWHAT SOMETHING OF THE FUTURE BUT WHAT WE CAN'T DENY IS THE IMPORTANCE OF RUBBER AS A MATERIAL IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY AND THE INCREASED USAGE WE'RE CERTAIN TO SEE OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS. BROUGHT TO YOU BY WHITE CROSS RUBBER PRODUCTS LTD White Cross (www.WCRP.UK.COM) RUBBER PRODUCTS

Rubber Cars - A Reality Or A Ridiculous Concept

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Back in 2010, James May discussed one of his visions for the future…rubber cars. This vision was based around the concept of vehicles which utilised rubbers of different densities and resiliences fr...

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