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Title:
WHEEL FOR SUPPORTING TIRES FOR VEHICLES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/141679
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A wheel (1) for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material based on carbon fiber, which comprises an insert (2) which is made of metallic material at its central region designed to be fixed to the hub of the respective vehicle. The insert (2) is coupled between external contoured laminated shells (3) made of composite material, with the interposition of at least one interface film (4) having a thickness that can vary between 0.05 mm and 1.0 mm. The interface film (4) is made of a material preferably chosen from among epoxy polymers, polyurethane polymers, acrylic polymers, silicone polymers, polyamide polymers, glass fibers and combinations thereof.

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Inventors:
BEDESCHI, Andrea (VIA CANTINELLI, 26/A, FAENZA, 48018, IT)
Application Number:
EP2018/052100
Publication Date:
August 09, 2018
Filing Date:
January 29, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RI-BA COMPOSITES S.R.L. (VIA MENGOLINA 22, FAENZA, 48018, IT)
International Classes:
B60B3/02; B60B3/10; B60B3/12; B60B3/16; B60B5/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013083729A22013-06-13
Foreign References:
US20160288563A12016-10-06
US20150360509A12015-12-17
US20150210862A12015-07-30
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO, Micaela (MODIANO & PARTNERS, Via Meravigli 16, Milano, 20123, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A wheel for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material based on carbon fiber, characterized in that it comprises an insert (2) which is made of metallic material at its central region designed to be fixed to the hub of the respective vehicle, said insert (2) being coupled between external contoured laminated shells (3) made of composite material, with the interposition of at least one interface film (4) having a thickness that can vary between 0.05 mm and 1.0 mm, said interface film (4) being made of a material preferably chosen from among epoxy polymers, polyurethane polymers, acrylic polymers, silicone polymers, polyamide polymers, glass fibers and combinations thereof.

2. The wheel according to claim 1, characterized in that said insert (2) is made of aluminum alloy with high mechanical strength.

3. The wheel according to claim 2, characterized in that said insert (2) comprises at least one substantially radial tab (5) which is at least partially tapered, said tab (5) being accommodated within a respective spoke (6).

4. The wheel according to claim 3, characterized in that it comprises, within each spoke (6), a body (7) made of highly deformable polymeric material at its peripheral region and said substantially radial tab (5) of said insert (2) at its central region, the terminal end of said tab (5) of said insert (2) being aligned with and proximate to the end that lies closest to the center of said body (7) made of highly deformable polymeric material.

5. The wheel according to claim 1, characterized in that said interface film (4), above a predefined threshold temperature, softens, responding to stresses with rubber-like elastic deformations.

6. The wheel according to claim 5, characterized in that said predefined threshold temperature is the glass transition temperature Tg' of the polymer that constitutes said film (4), said glass transition temperature Tg' being lower than the glass transition temperature Tg" of the polymeric matrix of the composite based on carbon fiber that constitutes said wheel.

7. The wheel according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said interface film (4) covers said insert (2) completely, defining a protective layer against oxidative, galvanic and chemical corrosion.

Description:
WHEEL FOR SUPPORTING TIRES FOR VEHICLES

The present invention relates to a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles.

Some types of vehicles, in particular automobiles, ensure considerable performance levels in terms of speed and acceleration.

Obviously, for the same power of the engine, it is possible to obtain superior performance levels with vehicles of low mass, since they can be accelerated (or decelerated) more easily (they have lower inertia).

For this reason the use is known of wheels, on which the tires are installed, which are made of light alloys (in particular aluminum alloys and magnesium alloys) and/or composite materials based on carbon fiber, which offer excellent mechanical properties and an extremely low weight.

In wheels made of light alloys, the connection to the hub of the installation vehicle is simple and does not introduce any critical point that could cause fractures or degradation of the wheel: a central surface of the wheel, provided with holes for accommodating respective bolts, is juxtaposed to the hub and held to it following tightening of the bolts.

When adopting wheels made of composite material, it is not possible to reproduce an identical structure, since the mechanical load would be localized at the bolts, with consequent risk of localized fracture of the composite at the areas where these bolts are tightened.

In order to overcome such drawback, the use is known of clamping disks, between which to immobilize the wheel by compressing it in the step of tightening the bolts on the hub: such implementation solution makes it possible to execute an effective locking in place of the wheel, but it implies a mandatory shape for it (the central area must be flat in order to be capable of being clamped between the disks) and it increases the number of interface surfaces between the hub of the vehicle and the wheel.

The first problem is substantially aesthetic in nature, but is very relevant in that in the automotive sector every auto maker has its own style which must necessarily be maintained and therefore it is not possible for all makers to adopt wheels with a flat central surface clamped between respective tightening discs.

The second problem on the other hand is technical in nature: increasing the number of interface surfaces increases the probability of the presence of mechanical plays that, with the passing of time, could compromise the stability and safety of the vehicle.

Furthermore, it should be noted that such possible mechanical plays can be amplified under severe operating conditions: in particular, following numerous operations to brake the vehicle, the disk of the brake will be subjected to exceptionally intense heating which will be transmitted to the wheel; under conditions of intense heating, the hub, the tightening discs and the central part of the wheel made of carbon will be subjected to different thermal expansions owing to the fact that they are made of mutually different materials.

The aim of the present invention is to solve the above mentioned drawbacks, by providing a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material with any appearance and shape structure, in compliance with the style requirements imposed by the design of the vehicles that will be fitted with that wheel.

Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material that can be coupled directly to the hub of the installation vehicle.

Another object of the invention is to provide a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material which is safe and mechanically stable even under conditions of high temperature.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles which is low cost, easily and practically implemented, and safe in use.

This aim and these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material based on carbon fiber, characterized in that it comprises an insert which is made of metallic material at its central region designed to be fixed to the hub of the respective vehicle, said insert being coupled between external contoured laminated shells made of composite material, with the interposition of at least one interface film having a thickness that can vary between 0.05 mm and 1.0 mm, said interface film being made of a material preferably chosen from among epoxy polymers, polyurethane polymers, acrylic polymers, silicone polymers, polyamide polymers, glass fibers and combinations thereof.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the detailed description that follows of a preferred, but not exclusive, embodiment of the wheel for supporting tires for vehicles according to the invention, which is illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is a cross- sectional view of a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles according to the invention;

Figure 2 is an enlarged view of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a partially cross-sectional front elevation view of a wheel according to the invention;

Figure 4 is an enlarged view of Figure 3.

With particular reference to the figures, the reference numeral 1 generally designates a wheel for supporting tires for vehicles.

The wheel 1 according to the invention is made of composite material based on carbon fiber: in essence it will therefore be constituted by structural carbon fibers (arranged in such a manner as to respond optimally to the stresses that are generated during the motion of the installation vehicle) that are stably coupled to a resin matrix.

The wheel 1 comprises an insert 2 which is made of metallic material arranged at its central region, which is designed to be fixed to the hub of the respective vehicle.

The insert 2 is coupled between external contoured laminated shells 3 made of composite material. The term "laminated shells" 3 is used to encompass all the possible embodiments of composite laminates of any shape (including spherical, cylindrical and fanciful).

Positively, at least one interface film 4 having a thickness that can vary between 0.05 mm and 1.0 mm is interposed between the insert 2 and the laminated shells 3.

The ideal thicknesses of the film 4 are those comprised between 0.2 mm and 0.8 mm, in relation to the majority of the possible applications on wheels 1 according to the invention.

The interface film 4 will be made of a material preferably chosen from among epoxy polymers, polyurethane polymers, acrylic polymers, silicone polymers, polyamide polymers, glass fibers and combinations thereof.

With particular reference to an embodiment of undoubted practical and applicative interest, the insert 2 can advantageously be made of high mechanical strength aluminum alloy.

In particular, preferably aluminum alloys will be used that are chosen preferably from among, according to the ASTM standard, those belonging to the 2000 group (Al/copper alloys) called Avional, to the 3000 group (Al/manganese alloys), to the 4000 group (Al/silicon alloys), to the 5000 group (Al/magnesium alloys), called Peraluman, to the 6000 group (Al/silicon and magnesium alloys), called Anticorodal, to the 7000 group (Al/zinc and magnesium alloys), to the 8000 group (mixed alloys) and to the 9000 group (Experimental series).

However, the possibility is not ruled out of using other metallic materials (in particular alloys constituted by different metals) for providing the insert 2.

It should be noted that the insert 2 comprises at least one substantially radial tab 5 which is at least partially tapered.

Such tab 5 will be accommodated within a respective spoke 6.

The wheel 1 according to the invention, in a specific embodiment thereof of excellent functionality and safety, can positively comprise, within each spoke 6, a body 7 made of highly deformable polymeric material, at its peripheral region, and it comprises the substantially radial tab 5 of the insert 2 at its central region.

The terminal end of the tab 5 of the insert 2 is aligned with and proximate to the end that lies closest to the center of the body 7 made of highly deformable polymeric material.

More simply, the terminal end of the tab 5 faces and is proximate to the most central portion of the body 7.

Any thermal expansions of the insert 2 (since it is made of metallic material it can undergo considerable size variations owing to its variations of temperature) will imply a lengthening of the radial tabs 5 with consequent compression of the body 7, without generating any damage to the laminated shells 3 made of composite material.

It should furthermore be noted that the interface film 4, above a predefined threshold temperature, will advantageously soften (with consequent modification of the mechanical behavior which may become, for example, viscous and/or elastomeric and/or exhibiting rubber-like elastic deformations, such as to allow the recovery of the original dimensions once the temperature is reduced), responding to stresses with rubber-like elastic deformations.

In particular the predefined threshold temperature is the glass transition temperature Tg' of the polymer that constitutes the film 4 proper.

The glass transition temperature Tg' is lower than the glass transition temperature Tg" of the polymeric matrix of the composite based on carbon fiber that constitutes the wheel 1 (in particular which constitutes the laminated shells 3). It should furthermore be noted that the interface film 4 covers the insert 2 completely, also defining a protective layer against oxidative, galvanic and chemical corrosion.

In practice, upon variations of temperature of the wheel 1 , the insert 2 and the laminated shells 3 will undergo size variations (proportional to a respective thermal expansion coefficient).

The thermal expansion coefficient of the metallic insert 2 will certainly be much higher than the coefficient of the composite laminated shells 3.

For this reason the presence of the film 4 constitutes an advantage in that it creates an expansion joint that allows a sliding between the insert 2 and the laminated shells 3, without the insert 2 damaging the laminated shells 3 by lengthening.

The protection conferred by the film 4 on the insert 2 also constitutes a solid screen against corrosion: in particular, aluminum and the composite based on carbon fiber have very different electronegativity values and therefore the interface surface could be affected by galvanic corrosion if the film 4 were not present.

Advantageously, the present invention solves the problems shown above, by providing a wheel 1 for supporting tires for vehicles which is made of composite material with any appearance and shape structure, in compliance with the style requirements imposed by the design of the vehicles that will be fitted with that wheel 1.

Conveniently the wheel 1 can be directly coupled to the hub of the installation vehicle, without the need to interpose dedicated tightening plates.

Positively the wheel 1 according to the invention is safe and mechanically stable even under conditions of high temperature.

Positively the wheel 1 made of composite material, for supporting tires for vehicles, is easily and practically implemented and is low cost: such characteristics make it an innovation that is certain to be safe in use.

The invention, thus conceived, is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims. Moreover, all the details may be substituted by other, technically equivalent elements.

In the embodiments illustrated, individual characteristics shown in relation to specific examples may in reality be interchanged with other, different characteristics, existing in other embodiments.

In practice, the materials employed, as well as the dimensions, may be any according to requirements and to the state of the art.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application No. 102017000009997 (UA2017A000562) from which this application claims priority are incorporated herein by reference.

Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.