Wheels and Tires

Wheels and tires seem to be one of the most basic aspects of a supercar but in reality they are actually a very complex aspect of the car. They have to be able to go two hundred miles an hour, which is no easy task considering how much heat is produced through the frictional force of acceleration. They actually have more to do with the stability and cornering of the car than the average person would think. Throughout this page we will explore a few aspects that make wheels and tires so incredible.


Observe the following diagrams:

On Acceleration

On Deceleration

Notice that the frictional force changes direction on acceleration versus deceleration even though direction of motion stays the same.

Now let's take a look at the tire of a performance vehicle:


Have you ever observed a tire on a performance vehicle over the tire on the average daily driver. The tires on the performance vehicle are much wider than the tires on the average daily driver. One would commonly think this is done to increases friction between the ground and the tire, this is actually not the case. The equation of a frictional force is:

There is no aspect of this equation that includes surface area of a tire, therefore we can conclude that surface area of a tire does not affect the frictional force in any way. The purpose of putting such wide tires on a supercar is simply for further stability of the vehicle, an interesting conclusion considering the common concept behind having wide tires.

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