Research team works on tyre-ice friction

Feb 23, 2006
curling

Experts from Scotland's Edinburgh University are working on a study aimed at developing electronic brooms to help cars stay on icy roads, reports Nature News. The Scottish scientists have teamed up with Olympic curlers in what could prove a major advance in road safety.

When the University’s team, led by Jane Blackford, began helping the UK’s Olympic curling team, they began to discover more about how different materials slip on ice. The resulting study could be a rare example of winter sports driving scientific progress.

The team is now working to develop tyre-ice friction on Ford and Jaguar cars. The fully developed technology would help drivers control their cars in winter when roads are icy and slippery.

Based on a ‘sweep ergonometer’, that the team developed for the curlers to train with in 2000, the mechanism measures the movements of the brush and the force with which it pushes the ice.

While the curlers trained, the research team evaluated the effectiveness of the sweeping.

To examine how ice melts under pressure, the team designed and built an instrument to study the process. The instrument was similar to a miniature record player, with a steel or rubber needle used to drag over a rotating disk of ice. When used by the curlers the team examined the ice with an electron microscope.

The experiment throws light on how force, temperature and other factors affect the movement of materials on ice – findings that will help car manufacturers improve the rubber content of tyres and improve braking systems.

Copyright 2006 PhysOrg.com

Explore further: WEGA fusion experiment passed on to the USA

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Curling Science

Feb 11, 2010

Since becoming an official Winter Olympic sport in 1996, the sport of curling has draws a surprisingly large TV audience for an event that features slick-shoed competitors sweeping brooms in front of stones ...

Recommended for you

WEGA fusion experiment passed on to the USA

18 hours ago

The small WEGA fusion device at Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald is being handed over to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The "Wendelstein-Experiment in Greifswald ...

Researchers design plasmonic cavity-free nanolaser

19 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Imperial College in London has designed a new type of laser, one that could be made much smaller than today's models because it would be cavity-free. In their paper ...

Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

Sep 21, 2014

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in observing the "forbidden" infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives ...

User comments : 0