e-book Rubber Meets the Road

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Researchers studying how a tire grips the road or how a cell hangs onto a surface want to explore this complex landscape in detail. But there is currently no way to do so while the two objects are in contact. Instead, researchers usually press one object into the other, remove it, and then image the indentation it leaves using an atomic force microscope. In their setup, a mechanical arm presses a ceramic ball, a few millimeters in diameter, down onto a nanometer-thick film of chromium coating a sapphire surface.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road – Literally

From below, a laser fires a femtosecond pulse up into the sapphire, focused on a 2-micron-wide spot at the boundary of the sapphire and chromium. The sound bounces off the chromium-sphere interface, returns to the sapphire-chromium interface, and is then probed by a second laser pulse.

Meat Loaf - Where The Rubber Meets The Road

By taking pump-probe readings on the same spot, but changing the probe delay each time, the researchers created a complete time profile of the picosecond-long echo from the sphere-chromium interface at a single point. Measuring the strength of the echo from each point along a line showed that the echo varied somewhat erratically at the micron scale.

The team says these fluctuations came from the nanoscale roughness of the contact, the tiny caverns and columns.


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When the sound wave hits a region largely in contact with the sphere above, much of it leaks through, whereas a region with more empty space will reflect more sound energy downward. For an overview of our official range test procedures, see my previous blog. We used Moffett Field again for our coastdown testing before we packed up VP1 and headed to the chassis dynamometer facility at Automotive Testing and Development Services in Ontario, Calif.

The range tests were significantly lengthier and a bit less fun than our performance tests, but the results are equally impressive!

rubber meets the road?

We are now in the process of certifying these results so you can expect to see them on our window-sticker as soon as production starts. The EPA range was a key benchmark for the Tesla Roadster, but more telling was the range in real world conditions.

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In recent months we used VP cars to demonstrate a variety of real-world drives that fully-discharge the battery. If you live in Northern California, you may be familiar with some of these locations. Note also that the improved efficiency of the Tesla Roadster has provided other benefits — recharge time-per-mile and electricity cost-per-mile have been reduced, while the overall battery lifetime mileage has been improved.

Overall, we are incredibly proud to have developed the highest-range production electric vehicle in history with a result that is very close to our original claim -- all while retaining the performance of a world-class sports car.


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    This report offers new estimates of road infrastructure costs and cost recovery, using the Province of Ontario as the target of its analysis. Update Interests. Home About e-Library Browse by Contact Us. You must be signed in and entitled to rate this report. Your rating and comments will be attributed to you.

    Document Highlights Remedies to address road congestion are often predicated on the presumption that road users do not cover road infrastructure costs. Comments are pending approval by CBoC Staff. I found this heavy reading, I was trying to find out why other studies disagree with yours as thy generally have a lower cost recovery from users.

    However even your conclusion is that users do not pay all costs. Great research paper!! However I was really looking for data concerning Eastern ON.