More than 80,000 aircraft take off and land daily in the world: more than one every second. Airlines are thus losing a daily average of $6.5 million due to the wear and tear of tires during landing. This wear and tear is illustrated by smoke and dark marks on the runway and is due to the brutal acceleration of tires when touching the ground. To reduce this loss of material, a solution is to rotate the wheels before touch down. Multiple solutions such as putting engines on the wheels or installing small wings on the rims have been proposed in the past. However, none appeared to be economically viable due to a lack of technological know-how. Recent technological improvements and new materials such as Titanium Matrix Composite now allow us to develop a system that pre-rotates the wheels using only aerodynamic forces. The installation of small wing profiles on the wheels would transform aerodynamic energy into mechanical energy that can be transferred to the wheels. With a revolutionary design combined with a new alloy, those rims would not increase the wheel weight and thus the operating cost. Calculations have demonstrated that around 50% of the tires’ wear and tear can be avoided using this system. This would help airlines save more than $1 billion a year. In addition, this system can be easily implemented on new aircraft as well as retrofitted on existing aircraft. This would also help reduce the aviation’s global environmental footprint through less waste of rubber and runway cleaning products.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Type of entry:teamTeam members:Mathilde Deveraux - Georgia Institute of Technology Christopher Frank - Georgia Institute of Technology
Number of times previously entering contest:1
Christopher is inspired by:Among human activities, transportation is the second largest contributor of all fossil fuel consumption. If
nothing is done, mean sea level might increase by 95 cm in 2100 and sink half of Bangladesh. In addition to
greenhouse gases (CO2, water vapor), aviation is responsible for other emissions like unburned hydrocarbons,
oxides and fine particles. The resulting pollution jeopardizes the fauna-flora balance and favors the spread
of diseases. Moreover, according to Airbus' Global Market Forecast, the number of aircraft in the sky
will double over the next 20 years. Therefore, our team is focusing on developing an innovative concept that can potentially meet future societal needs. In particular, the presented system aims at reducing the consumption of natural resources, improving the quality of life of airport neighborhoods, and making air travels more affordable.