MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: Why don't airplanes pre-spin the wheels before landing to avoid friction

Date: Tue Feb 5 16:33:37 2008
Posted By: David and John Free, Post-doc/Fellow, MFA, MFA
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 1194850366.Eg

Hello Vic

Airplane tires have a very hard life. They last but a few landings and 
are changed regularly in any case for safety reasons.

The extent to which tread wear is due to the stationary wheel contacting 
the ground at high speed is little studied. They did try spinning the 
wheels to synchronism by electric motors, but it was said to be “not cost-
Another idea tried is to cut tire treads in the tires that make them turn 
like turbines.
This works but was found “not cost-effective” perhaps because normal 
tires begin to spin anyway due to the air flow being faster on the part 
of the tire nearer the ground.

The tire wear due to braking on the runway causes most of the wear. Disc 
brakes were, after all, invented for aircraft!	


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