New ‘Smart Tyre’ Senses Damage
Researchers led by Gary W. Krutz, director of Purdue’s Electrohydraulic Center and a professor of agricultural and biological engineering, has developed a tyre system that reportedly senses failures in real time. The concept behind the technology is that the entire tyre acts as a sensor that sends information to on-board computers. The patented technology is available through the Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
“I became interested in this after I had to replace all the tyres on my daughter’s and son-in-law’s car after just 10,000 miles and suspected problems after seeing dozens of truck retreads along interstates,” said Krutz, who earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. “This motivated me to do some research and find a way to improve tyre safety. Our prototypes were tested, and the results showed significant damage can be quickly detected.”
Krutz’s research led to the development of a sensing system that can respond to significant changes in a rubber research tyre. “However, there are external injuries that can occur in tyres that are not always propagated or affected by improper inflation, such as a road hazard like a rock or loose concrete, that can do damage to a tyre without actually causing it to go flat,” Krutz said. “This sensor technology searches for these types of problems as well.”
According to official literature, the sensor technology developed by Krutz works for all rubber tyres, such as those on passenger cars, trucks, construction equipment, lawn and garden equipment, mining vehicles, and aeroplanes. The technology has been tested on other components and can be used in rubber products such as vehicle isolators, door and automotive seals, and orthopaedic devices.