It is no secret that an invention such as the wheel would be the most important attribute of our lives. But few people know that the first wheels appeared several thousands of years ago and were used to mold pots and other products. After the appearance of such an object in everyday life, people’s lives have become more comfortable and productive. The wheel served as a kind of catalyst, pushing people to new fruitful discoveries.
Today, the car wheel is an integral part of a car and, along with the tire, is the engine of the wheeled vehicle.
The car wheel has undergone many changes over the past 100 years, from wooden wheels to composites and superalloys.
After the release in Germany of the legendary vehicle called “the Motorwagen” in 1885, the patent creator Karl Benz began intensively developing suitable wheels for his car. His three-wheeled car received bicycle wheels equipped with stiffer, non-pneumatic rubber.
But, in the Far West, for a long time, people used wooden wheels from the artillery. However, in the mid-20th century, they were replaced by welded spoke construction.
The first American car, the Ford Model T, was mass produced from 1908 to 1927, even with wooden wheels. Then, in 1927, they were replaced by steel ones.
In the 1960s, magnesium rims became very popular. The lightweight and durable magnesium alloy rims were originally created for racing, but gradually entered the mass market.
Later, magnesium discs were replaced by heavier, but cheaper to produce, cast aluminum discs. Currently, most manufacturers are producing cars with steel (budget economy option) or cast aluminum disks.
Forged magnesium alloy wheels are still used for racing cars, including Formula 1.
Wheels from the future
By and large, the design of the wheel has been given its final shape, and how it can be improved is completely unclear. However, many companies are actively looking for new ideas and solutions and regularly present exotic prototypes to the world.
For example, in 2006, Michelin surprised everyone with a tubeless wheel: the Tweel. It is not pneumatic, as it consists entirely of rubber treads. They are connected to the center by elastic spokes. They repeat all the deformations of the wheel, and that is why they absorb shocks.
Despite the fact that Tweel tires have many advantages, they have one big disadvantage: a car equipped with Tweel tires, when accelerating to more than 80km/h, begins to vibrate strongly.
As a result, global companies are still actively looking for ideas and solutions for the ideal wheel of the future.