A wheel is a device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center, facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load (mass), or performing labor in machines. Common examples found in transport applications. A wheel, together with an axle, overcomes friction by facilitating motion by rolling. In order for wheels to rotate, a moment needs to be applied to the wheel about its axis, either by way of gravity, or by application of another external force. More generally the term is also used for other circular objects that rotate or turn, such as a ship's wheel, steering wheel and flywheel.
Created by StevePro on Mar 29, 2011
Last updated: 08/22/11 at 05:15 PM
nown to our readers for transport innovations like the Tweel airless tire, Michelin has announced that it will partner to bring an affordable electric car powered by its Active Wheel System to the roads in 2010. Featuring two electric motors housed within the wheel, one for traction and braking and the other for electric active suspension control, the system has revolutionary potential - no more engine under the hood, no more traditional suspension system, and no more gearbox or transmission as all the essential components have been integrated into the wheel itself.
The Tweel (a portmanteau of tire and wheel) is an experimental tire design developed by the French tire company Michelin. The tire uses no air, and therefore cannot burst or become flat. Instead, the Tweel's hub connects to flexible polyurethane spokes which are used to support an outer rim and assume the shock-absorbing role of a traditional tire's pneumatic properties.
Alloy wheels (also known as rims) are automobile (car, motorcycle and truck) wheels which are made from an alloy of aluminium or magnesium (or sometimes a mixture of both). They are typically lighter for the same strength and provide better heat conduction and improved cosmetic appearance.
Overseas, Ford's Model T used wooden artillery wheels, which were followed in 1926 and 1927 by steel welded-spoke wheels. Unlike Karl Benz's first vehicle, the car that "put America on wheels" had pneumatic tires invented by Mr. Dunlop. There was, however, a big difference between those tires and the ones we used today. Made of white carbonless rubber, the tire had a life expectancy of around 2000 miles. A tire only lasted for around 30 or 40 miles before it needed repairs. Common problems included: the tire coming off the wheel, punctures and the tube being pinched.
The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Flivver, T‑Model Ford, or T) is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927. The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford's innovations, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan. The Model T was the first automobile mass produced on assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class.
The pneumatic tire idea was further improved in 1888 by John Dunlop, a Scottish veterinarian, who also patented it. Thanks to the smooth ride, Dunlop's tire replaced the hard rubber used by all bicycles at that time.
It's fair to start talking about automobile wheels starting with Karl Benz's 1885 Benz Patent Motorwagen. The three-wheel vehicle used bicycle-like wire wheels, which were fitted with hard rubber.
Another major invention that came about the same with the wire tension spoke was the pneumatic tire, which was first patented in 1845 by R.W. Thompson.
The spoked wheel remained pretty much the same until 1802, when G.F. Bauer registered a patent for the first wire tension spoke. This wire spoke consisted of a length of wire threaded through the rim of the wheel and secured at both ends to the hub. Over the next few years, this wire spoke evolved into the round tension spoke we see on bicycles today.
No major technological advances were made in the wheel from 500-1802
The classic spoked wheel with hub and iron rim, in use from about 500 BC (Iron Age Europe) until the 20th century CE
The Monteleone chariot is an Etruscan chariot dated to ca. 530 BC. It was originally uncovered at Monteleone di Spoleto and is currently part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Though about 300 ancient chariots are known to still exist, only six are reasonably complete, and the Monteleone chariot is the best-preserved  and most complete  of all known surviving examples. Carlos Picón, curator of the Met's Greek and Roman department, has called it "the grandest piece of sixth-century Etruscan bronze anywhere in the world.
The first iron rims around the wheel were seen on Celtic chariots in 1000 BC
The Trundholm sun chariot (Danish: Solvognen), is a late Nordic Bronze Age artifact discovered in Denmark, that is normally interpreted as a depiction of the sun being pulled by a mare. The sun chariot is a bronze statue of a mare and a large bronze disk, which are placed on a device with spoked wheels. The horse stands on a bronze rod supported by four wheels. The rod below the horse is connected to the disk, which is supported by two wheels. All of the wheels have four spokes. The artifact was cast in the lost wax method.
The sculpture was discovered with no accompanying objects in 1902 in a peat bog on the Trundholm moor in West Zealand County on the northwest coast of the island of Zealand (Sjælland) in Denmark, in a region known as Odsherred (approximately 55°55′N 11°37′E). It is now in the collection of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The whole object is approximately 54 x 35 x 29 cm (width, height, depth).
The disk has a diameter of approximately 25 cm (9.8 inches). It is gilded on one side only, the right-hand side (when looking in the direction of the horse). It consists of two bronze disks that are joined by an outer bronze ring, with a thin sheet of gold applied to one face. The disks were then decorated with punches and gravers with zones of motifs of concentric circles, with bands of zig-zag decoration between borders. The gold side has an extra outer zone which may represent rays, and also a zone with concentric circles linked by looping bands that "instead of flowing in one direction, progress like the steps of the dance, twice forward and once back". The main features of the horse are also highly decorated.
The two sides of the disk have been interpreted as an indication of a belief that the sun is drawn across the heavens from East to West during the day, presenting its bright side to the Earth and returns from West to East during the night, when the dark side is being presented to the Earth. A continuation around a globe would have the same result. It is thought that the chariot was pulled around during religious rituals to demonstrate the motion of the sun in the heavens.
Although they did not develop the wheel proper, the Olmec and certain other western hemisphere cultures seem to have approached it, as wheel-like worked stones have been found on objects identified as children's toys dating to about 1500 BCE
Greek, Hittite and Egyptian chariots tended to have six spokes, Iron Age Assyrian ones eight.
A wheel with spokes first appeared on Egyptian chariots around 2000 BC
Bronze Age disk wheel as depicted on Bronze Age disk wheel as depicted on the Standard of Ur (ca. 2500 BCE) (ca. 2500 BCE)
Working on a site in the Ljubljana marshes, Slovenian archaeologists last year uncovered a wooden wheel some 20 kilometers southeast of Ljubljana. Austrian experts have established that the wheel is between 5,100 and 5,350 years old, which makes it the oldest wooden wheel in the world ever found.
The first use of the wheel for transportation was probably on Mesopotamian chariots in 3200 BC
The Bronocice pot is a ceramic vase incised with the earliest known image of what may be a wheeled vehicle. It was dated by the radiocarbon method to 3500-3350 BC  and is attributed to the Funnelbeaker archaeological culture. Today it is housed in the Archaeological Museum in Kraków, Poland.
Based on diagrams on ancient clay tablets, the earliest known use of this essential invention was a potter’s wheel that was used at Ur in Mesopotamia (part of modern day Iraq} as early as 3500 BC
The Mayop culture is also believed to be one of the first to take of the wheel.