Origin of tyre

Commonly spelled as ‘tire’ in America, we typically use tyre in Kenya which wasn't around until the 19th century when the British introduced the English language. ‘Tyre’ over the course of the 20th century became established as the standard British spelling. The word tyre/tire is a short form of attire, from the idea that a wheel with a tyre is a dressed wheel.

The wheel, on its own, when rolled across surfaces, begins to wear and tear.  As the 19th century ended and bicycles were becoming popular, an outside layer added to the wheel was needed to absorb damage and minimize wear.  This is where the tyre debuted on the world scene, providing strong absorption therefore a smooth ride.

A tyre is a ring-shaped vehicle component that covers the wheel's rim to protect it and enhance the wheels performance and vehicle maneuverability.

There are two basic types of tyres:-

  • Pneumatic tyres: This type is made of reinforced rubber which, together with a wheel, forms a pressurized gas enclosure.
  • Solid tyres: They do not create a pressurized chamber over the wheels and are made of rubber or plastic compounds. The earliest tyres were made of solid wood.
An ancient wooden wheel with a steel outer part that serves as a tyre. Image source; www.shutterstock.com

Image source; www.shutterstock.com

Functions of a tyre

Today, tyres are highly technologically manufactured in various constructions and a vast range of sizes, but they still have to serve four basic functions:-

  1. Support Vehicle Load: Modern pneumatic tyres contain compressed air in sealed chamber that supports the vehicle weight. Higher air pressure in the tyre will support higher loads, and larger air chambers will support higher loads too.
  2. Absorb Shocks from Road Surface: Since tyres contain compressed air, it means that they deform and regain shape at some pressure and impact like a spring and with a shock absorbing quality thereby reducing unnecessary motion. The more compressed vertically, the more protection for the vehicle.
  3. Transmit Traction and Braking Forces to the Road Surface
  4. Change and Maintain Direction of Travel

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Sources

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tire
  • https://tireguides.com/TireTips/TireDocument/13

An ancient wooden wheel with a steel outer part that serves as a tyre.
An ancient wooden wheel with a steel outer part that serves as a tyre. Image source; www.shutterstock.com