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3 Reasons Why Your Car Tyres Have to be Round…And One Reason They Need Not be Black

At some point or the other in our lives we have surely heard this rhyme –“The wheels of the bus go round and round”. In fact, you may even have sung it at the top of your voice. But did you ever pause to think “why”. I mean why should the wheels (and by extension tyres) be round? Why can’t they be square, rectangular or hexagonal in shape?

History has shown us that the simple ‘why’ has been instrumental in revealing to us universal truths. For instance when an apple landed on his head, Sir Issac Newton did not give voice to the dark thoughts, which must have obviously crowded his mind. Neither did he simply make a nutritious afternoon snack of it. Instead he asked the pertinent question WHY. Why did the apple fall down? And then, he (and all of us) discovered gravity.

This is but one example. And I am pretty sure there are several. When it comes to your car tyres, what are obvious ‘whys’ that present themselves to you? I can think of two – ‘why are car tyres round’ and ‘why are they black?’ So ask yourself these questions, if you have not done so before. And read on to find out the truths that will be revealed by the answers.

Are Your Car Tyres Round?

Truth #1: For Speed

The tyres are the only point of contact between your car and the road. It is actually the tyres that get from point A to point B. The round shape of the tyres ensures that you are able to do this faster. Tyres move by rolling. And the circular shape is the most appropriate one for this purpose as it maintains a uniform and smooth contact with the surface.

Any shape other than round- think square, rectangular, hexagonal etc- has edges or points that dig into the road. This makes movement slower. And with these shapes, rolling is definitely not an option.

Truth 2: To Save you Money OR For Increasing Fuel Efficiency

As your car tyres roll on the surface and take you to your destination, they have to overcome frictional force offered by the surface. This parameter called rolling resistance is directly related to fuel efficiency. When the rolling resistance is high, tyres take up more fuel to overcome this resistance pushing up fuel consumption and the fuel efficiency plummets. Of all geometrical shapes, the circle offers the least rolling resistance, as it rolls relatively smoothly.

Other shapes, as we saw, have points or edges that will dig into the surface and you obviously will need extra energy to ‘undig’. So, overcoming the resistance here will require more energy, meaning more fuel, which pushes up the fuel consumption even more. In fact even with circular tyres, manufacturers are devising ways and means and innovative technologies to lower rolling resistance even further and produce highly fuel efficient green tyres that are environment friendly too. So really, if tyres weren’t round, you would be paying a lot more at the fuel pumps than you currently are.

# Truth 3: For Greater Ride Comfort

Sure, you love the smooth ride your car gives. But do you know that this happens because your tyres are round. The centre of a circle is equidistant from all points, so the mass of the car experiences uniform movement, giving you a smooth ride. With non-circular tyres, the mass of the car moves up and down as not all points are equally situated from the centre and the tyre would have to compensate for that. So hello back ache…and uncomfortable rides!

Why are Your Car Tyres Black?

Carbon black is an essential strengthening agent in your tyres, which confers black colour to the tyres. Besides, black colour absorbs more heat, enhancing the tyre’s adhesion to the road and keeping you safe and sound…on the ground.

But the Future Looks Colourful….

Bridgestone Tyres is developing a new colour tyre printing technology. Formula One Tyres are also now colourful with Pirelli P-Zero tyres.So sometime in the future, you could be looking at colourful tyres with custom printing. So now you are customising your cars….you may soon have customised tyres.

The era of black tyres may well be a thing of the past….but the era of round tyres is the future too.

Jack Underwood

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