June 20, 2012

WHEN THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD:

Our Streets Aren't Hard Enough (to Save Fuel) (Rachel Swaby, 6/18/12, Pacific Standard)

The roads are getting some heat for their interactions with our tires. The problem? Pavement has gone soft--or rather has been too soft from the beginning.

Researchers at MIT, who recently conducted a study looking at the space between the rubber and the road, compare the present interaction to walking barefoot in the sand. The vehicle's load ends up trailing behind the travel path due of the way the energy is dissipated. But by swapping in stiffer materials, the researchers found, the United States could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent--a savings of more than 250 million barrels of crude oil annually.

Posted by at June 20, 2012 5:06 AM
  

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