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Tire mufflers.

THE WALLS ALONG U.S. INTERSTATE ROUTES REMIND us that traffic is noisy. Traffic along Interstate 80 or 1-95, for instance, can drum up enough noise to disturb sleep and put nerves on edge, we're told. The walls keep some of that noise from reaching subdivisions and condos by the highway. According to the U.S. Federal. Highway Administration, we're mainly hearing tires. The FHA says tires interacting with pavement are the predominant source of traffic noise at all speeds between 30 and 90 mph.

The noise goes with us, too, when we're driving on the highway. If you want to listen to a Hayden concerto or the passenger sitting next to you, the interference can get in the way.

Continental AG, an automotive supplier based in Hanover, Germany, is proposing some relief for people inside automobiles, if not for the highway's neighbors.

The company finds that a 20 mm thick layer of polyurethane foam inside the tire behind the tread can substantially reduce the road noise in the cabin. Continental says the polyether-based polyurethane foam is bonded in place after the tire is manufactured.

According to a Continental spokesman, the bonding agent is a cross-linked polymer blend developed by the company.

The foam layer will muffle noise coming from the tread rolling on the road surface. Continental calls tires with the interior foam layer ContiSilent.

Continental says the performance will vary by type of car, speed, and road surface, but the muffled tire can help reduce noise inside the passenger compartment by as much as 9 dB absolute.

According to Continental, the foam layer has no effect on vehicle handling, gasoline mileage, or load capacity. ContiSilent mounts on standard rims and stores like other tires.

Audi will offer the new tires on two of its models.

The automaker will equip its R5 6 Avant with size 285/30 ZR 21 ContiSilent tires, and the RS 7 Sportback with Size 275/30 ZR 21.

QUICK FACTS:

WHAT IT IS:

A noise suppression feature inside an automobile tire.

WHAT IT DOES:

Reduces road noise reaching a vehicle's cabin.

HOW WORKS:

A 20 mm thick layer of polyurethane damps noise generated by the tile tread interacting with the road surface.

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Title Annotation:TECH BUZZ
Author:Hutchinson, Harry
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Date:Nov 1, 2013
Words:368
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