wheels have evolved from a series of developments to cater the necessities and
ever-growing trends in transportation and logistics. From wooden wheels to wire
spokes and from steel rims to alloy wheels, a lot of development has been realized
in this regard. Transportation includes two wheeler and four wheeler vehicles
for passenger modes and higher for logistics which includes higher load anomalies.
Two wheeler and four wheelers are
coming with alloy wheels replacing spokes. Alloys such as aluminium, titanium,
composite materials, steel, etc. The cost factor, increased capacity to
withstand adversary of road conditions and load factor are all taken into
consideration for comparing aluminium alloy series to identify the better among
Truck rims are made of steel which are done with a hard cast hub, with 4
to 6 holes for bolts in it. The steel rim is then processed through a series of
welds. Balancing of wheels need to be done and tested. Wheels need to be
durable, reliable, and agile and be able to withstand load. Spokes in wheel
rims doesn’t show good capabilities comparative to alloy wheels.
Alloy wheels are too solid but
that doesn’t mean that there are fewer options in finding a better replacement.
Lighter wheels can improve handling by reducing un-sprung
mass , allowing suspension to follow the terrain more
closely and thus improve grip, however not all alloy wheels are lighter. When comparing
2000, 3000, 5000 & 7000 series of aluminium alloys, it might show some better
result in comparison to the existing wheel rim materials. Good heat conduction
of the alloy can help dissipate heat from the brakes, which can
improve the braking of vehicle to an extent.
1.1. Description of wheel rim
Wheel rim feature supports fitting
of tire on the exterior radius of the cylindrical rim design. It should be in a
position to allow the tire to sit on the rim feature suitably without error. It
consists of the following parts; 1.Rim wide 2.ET 3.Rear seat 4.Front flange
5.spoke 6.Air valve 7.Hump.The wheel rim bears both static and dynamic load
which causes fatigue and damage to it. It also has a limit on number of cycles
the wheel rim has undergone which causes fatigue too.
Types of Wheel Rim
Wire Spoke wheel, Steel disc wheel,
Light alloy wheel, Aluminium alloy wheel, Magnesium alloy wheel, Titanium alloy
wheel, Composite alloy wheel.
Wire Spoke Wheel
spoke wheels are those whose rims connect to their hubs by wire spokes made
up of steel.
They function mechanically as same
as tensioned flexible wires, keeping the rim stable while
supporting applied loads.
1.2.2. Steel Disc Wheel
This is a rim which merges the rim made
of steel and the wheel into one by welding, and it is used mainly for passenger
1.2.3. Light Alloy Wheel
Light alloy wheel are mostly made
up of aluminium, magnesium which are lighter and agile. The features of each
light alloy wheel are explained as below;
1.2.4. Aluminium Alloy Wheel
Aluminium is a metal with features
of extreme lightness, good thermal conductivity, and corrosion resistance,
characteristics of casting, low temperature coefficient, machine processing techniques
and easy recycling, etc. The main advantage of this aluminium is reduced
weight, high accuracy and choice of design for the wheel. This metal is useful
for conservation of resources because it is possible to re-cycle aluminum
1.2.5. Magnesium Alloy Wheel
Magnesium is about 30% lighter than
aluminium, and also, excellent for its stability in size and impact resistance.
However, its use is mainly restricted to racing, which needs the features of
lightness and high strength at the discretion of corrosion resistance and
choice of design, etc. compared with aluminium. The technology for casting and
forging process is being developed and also corrosion resistance formula is
being developed. This material is receiving special attention due to the
renewed interest in using highly efficient alloy mainly in the field of racing
and expensive cars.
1.2.6. Titanium Alloy Wheel
Titanium is an excellent metal suitable for corrosion
resistance and strength (about 2.5 times) and is compared with aluminum, but it
is unviable due to its complex machine processing, its design and its
exorbitant cost. It is still in the development stage although there is some
use in the field of racing.
1.2.7. Composite Material Wheel
The wheel rim made up of composite materials is a combination of several
composite materials and different from the light alloy wheel and it (thermoplastic
resin containing fibre glass particles) is developed mainly for its less weight.
However, this type of wheel is not suitable as its reliability against heat and
for strength is marginal. Few developments are in progress.
1.3. Manufacturing Method of
The steel disk wheel and the light alloy wheel are the most commonly installed one. The
manufacturing method for the light alloy wheel is classified into two. Cast
metal and forged manufacturing method for aluminium alloy wheel and only
casting method is used for magnesium alloy wheel.
Usage limit of the wheel
The wheel rim
is limited to certain usage limits. If a rim is used in severe operations such
as racing or rallying, certain hidden damage is caused. This may result in an
accident or sudden rim failure as damage is caused. The life of a rim is varied
according to using conditions. The life of a rim is usually higher than the
tire and is also put under heavy stress. If any minor defect in the wheel rim, it
should be replaced immediately.
1.5. Test of Wheel
Wheels are part of a vehicle and as
such subjected to a high load. The durability of the wheel is important for the
safe operation of the vehicle. Therefore, it is necessary to examine a wheel
for both strength and fatigue resistance.
1.5.1. Endurance Test of Radius of Rim
On a steel drum, the rim is rotated
under heavy pressure conditions and the durability of the rim is examined.
Sometimes, test is done by giving camber angle and adding a side force to it.
1.5.2. Test of Disc
The rim flange is tested by applying a load
from an arm mounted to the hub. A bending moment is applied while the rim
1.5.3. Impact Test
The impact test is done by testing
the wheel against curb of road or any obstacle on its path through compilation
of results of impact on the wheel rim.
1.6. Maintaining rims
It is highly vital to check and
maintain the wheel rims. Since a small corrosion can cause severe damage to it.
This can happen under normal conditions also. Signs of corrosion and rust have
to be checked to prevent damage. It may only take one corroded spoke to damage
the rim. The aluminum motorcycle rims are usually coated with some chemicals
used for protection of the alloy wheel. Bike maintenance and other systems
(like brake fluid) can damage that coating. Exposure of bare aluminnium to air,
it can corrode easily. Wheels are put to lots of stress and even some amount of
corroded area can have devastating effect on the health of the rims.