When tires blow out on aircraft, it often causes the plane to skid abruptly, sometimes even off the runway, and / or perhaps damage the undercarriage. Perhaps there are some new technologies which can alert pilots of potential failure when the treads are worn down too low to be safe? Let's discuss this shall we?
Recently, in NASA Tech Briefs there was an article titled; "Printed Sensors Monitor Tire Wear in Real Time – Carbon nanotubes bring tire wear monitoring into the car," about research at Duke University in Chapel Hill, NC. This article was published in September of 2017.
The article stated that special pliable and flexible sensors placed inside of the tire on the opposite side of the tread had a 99% accuracy of alerting drivers when the tread was so low that it might blow. This would allow car owners to run their tires down all the way to the safety margin and then they'd be immediately alerted, rather than trading them in for a new set when not needed or worse run them until they pop and cause a dangerous situation . The article stated:
"The sensors can be printed on most anything using an aerosol jet printer – even on the inside of the tires. And, while it is not yet certain that direct printing will be the best manufacturing approach, whatever approach is extremely used, it is estimated that the sensors should cost far less than a penny apiece once they're being made in quantity. "
The researchers are busy looking for other automated applications for these pliable sensors, yet, I'd suggest they look skyward because this is a main concern with commercial aircraft safety during takeoff and landing. Look, here is the thing; aircraft tires are really expensive and yes, pilots and ground crews check before takeoff, but you can not always tell when there is a bald spot caused when landing – you know, as that urrt, urrt sound happens when landing. So, having a strip of sensors around the inside of the aircraft tire will tell you when it's getting unsafe and needs a change out to prevent failure.
Blown tires on aircraft put debris on the runway and cause heat issue with metal parts, that's not good, remember when the Concorde tire came apart and went through the bottom of the wing on take-off? See how important aircraft tires are and what happens when they come apart? Even a small tire fire under the aircraft after landing can turn into a really bad day for all. By optimizing tire wear and tear aircraft can run tires longer and know exactly when the tires need change outs, not only that, the tire itself can alert the pilots in real-time, which is really good information to know about your equipment on the next flight or back to the home maintenance hub base. Think on this.