Technology 3 min read

Researchers Harvest Static Electricity From Rotating Tire

Image Credit: Pixabay

Image Credit: Pixabay

The engineers at the Japanese tire company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries have teamed up with a research team at the Kansai University, led by Professor Hiroshi Tani. Together, they developed a system that reportedly collects the static electricity that a vehicle tire generates.

The whole set-up is divided into two parts: the car tire and a unique energy-harvesting device in it.

The engineers created the device using two layers of rubber, each covered in an electrode. Then, there’s a negatively charged film that interfaces with a positively charged one.

The result was an energy harvester that serves as a source of clean energy. It could convert the static electricity from the rotation of the tire into power that the vehicle use.

But how exactly does it work? Well, it involves taking advantage of a type of static electricity called frictional charging.

Frictional charging is a process that results in a transfer of electrons between two objects that are rubbed together. That means when the tire’s footprint deforms during rotation, it generates electric power.

According to reports, the tire maker has already developed a prototype that actually produces electricity while you drive. Bear in mind that the whole process occurs in the tire itself, not the wheel.

Sumitomo’s Static Electricity Harvesting Prototype Tire

Static electricity
Image Credit: Kansai University

Beneath the thread of most modern-day tires, you’ll find a layered design of liners, belts, and sidewalls. But, Sumitomo’s prototype contained more.

Instead of harvesting the static electricity from regular tires, the company created tires that could generate the energy actively. Basically, any thread deformation that occurs in the moving tire leads to frictional charging, and subsequently static electricity.

With this innovative tire concept, the smallest amount of electricity could make all the difference. You can use it to power accessories such as radios, dashboard lights, or according to Sumitomo, a tire pressure monitor.

In a statement to the press, the tire manufacturer said:

“We are confident that the results of this latest research will lead to practical applications for this new technology as a power source for sensors used in TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) and other automotive devices, contributing to the creation of future services that make use of various digital tools without any need for batteries.”

Sumitomo intends to continue the development of the technology with the assistance of the Japan Science and Technology Agency. With any progress, our tires could soon serve more purpose than ensuring the car doesn’t lose grip.

Read More: New Device Creates Electricity From Snowfall

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    GARY HARSTVEDT February 12 at 9:04 pm GMT

    My bicycle tire was popping from a static charge, and of course I knew someone would find something about it sooner than I could. I thought the harvesting method would go to a storage capacitor.

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