Design Engineering
Showcase

The Tyre Collective

Students
Deepak Mallya, Hanson Cheng, Hugo Richardson & Siobhan Anderson
Course
Innovation Design Engineering
Supervisor
N/A
Theme
Modern Motion

Tyres: The stealthy microplastic pollutant we never thought about. Tyre wear and tear is the second-largest microplastic pollutant in our environment. As we move towards an electric future, tailpipe emissions will reduce but tyre emissions are projected to increase due to the added battery weight. The future of vehicle pollution will not come from tailpipe emissions, but from tyres. The Tyre Collective aims to mitigate emissions by capturing them at the source, stopping them from entering our environment.

 — The Tyre Collective
Our device collects tyre wear at source.

Microplastics are an emerging health and environmental concern. These particles are commonly associated with single-use plastics, microfibres, and microbeads. However, the second-largest microplastic contributor comes from a source we never thought about: tyres.

Today, half a million tons of tyre particles are produced annually in Europe alone, from vehicles accelerating, braking and cornering. These particles are small enough to become airborne and have adverse health effects on our lungs. They account for up to 50% of PM2.5 pollution from road transport and 10% of all PM2.5 by 2030. More are swept into our waterways and oceans, eventually, entering our food chain. As we move towards an electric future, tailpipe emissions are set to reduce but tyre emissions are projected to increase due to the added battery weight. It is crucial to consider the implications of tyre wear, so we are not replacing one pollution source with another. The future of vehicle pollution will not come from tailpipes, but from tyres.

 — The Tyre Collective
The amount of tyre wear produced by London Buses, EVs, and cars. The No. 9 London bus, on average releases 4.65g per journey and a total of 65g a day. Car and EV quantities based on a 16km UK average commute per day.

The Tyre Collective aims to mitigate tyre emissions by capturing them at the source to ensure clean air, safeguarding our environment and health. We discovered these particles are charged from friction as they fly off tyres. Our patent-pending technology uses electrostatics to capture tyre wear right at the wheel. The device is positioned close to where the tyre touches the road, taking advantage of various air flows around a spinning wheel.

 — The Tyre Collective
Explorations on various typologies and configurations to maximize surface area and collection efficiency.

Captured particulates are gathered in a removable storage unit. Once collected, these fragments are processed and can be reused, creating a closed-loop system. Particles under 50 microns are small enough to be reused in new tyre production. Other creative applications include 3D printing, soundproofing, and inks and dyes. This is a complex issue and we cannot solve it alone. Our solution is a result of collaboration with experts from Aerodynamics, Material Science and Chemical Engineering, facilitated by design.

 — The Tyre Collective
The particulates are gathered in a removable storage unit. Once collected, these fragments are processed and can be reused, creating a closed-loop system.

In July 2019, the UK government issued a call for action on tyre emissions. Up until now, emission standards have been focused exclusively on tailpipe emissions, we aim to extend this to tyre wear. We envision our device becoming a worldwide standard, licensed to all vehicles. As a first step, we have designed a two-fold strategy of Awareness and Action, where we are working with local governments to raise awareness on air quality and developing relationships with public transport companies to test and pilot our device. In our fight against pollution, tyres have largely been ignored. Now, we can save our environment from tyre wear!

 — The Tyre Collective
A sample of our collection plate capturing 60% of all airborne particles on our test rig.

Comments

I really like this work! Actually I never realized this plastic problem before! Thanks for your work and hoping to see future development.

Sharon

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