Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Delft researchers unravel the working of the bicycle

21.09.2007
For nearly 150 years, scientists have been baffled by the bicycle. How on earth is it possible that a moving bicycle can, all by itself, be so stable?

Researchers of the Delft University of Technology, working with colleagues from Cornell University and the University of Nottingham, UK, believe they have now found the ultimate model of the bicycle. The researchers discuss their findings in the new edition of Delft Outlook, the science magazine of TU Delft.

'Bicycle manufacturers have never been able to say precisely how a bicycle works', explains Dr Arend Schwab of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE). 'They have always had to refine their designs purely through experimentation. In our model, they can enter into the computer all of the various factors that influence the stability and handling of their bicycle. The model then calculates how the bicycle will react at specific speeds.' The model has recently been published in the science magazine Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A.

Jittery bicycle

Because the model has the ability to indicate whether a design will deliver a jittery bicycle, or indeed a stable one for seniors, the bicycle industry is highly interested in the findings. The head of product development at the Dutch bicycle manufacturing company Batavus, Rob van Regenmortel, is following the research being conducted by Arend Schwab and his fellow researcher Jodi Kooijman very closely.

Van Regenmortel: 'In designing our bicycles, for years we have worked with three parameters: The overall geometry, the distance between the axles and the angle at which the fork points downwards. These choices were once made by all bicycle makers and have been rarely deviated from because the bicycle appeared to work properly. However, with the new model, we soon hope to be able to design bicycles that are much better oriented toward specific target groups.'

Riding habits

Rob Van Regenmortel hopes to collaborate with Arend Schwab and Jodi Kooijman on a follow-up project to study the human control. The ultimate goal of the bicycle research is to study the interaction between bicycle and rider in order to determine the handling quality of the bicycle. 'In this way, we can – in theory – create a customised bicycle for every rider', says van Regenmortel. 'Individuals who have trouble maintaining their balance, for example, would then no longer be restricted to a tricycle.'

Delft Outlook

The complete article on this subject is available in the new edition of Delft Outlook, the independent science magazine of TU Delft. The new issue also includes a story on the role of clouds in climate change, a study by Delft researchers on irrigation in Tanzania, and the invention of an air-conditioned bed.

Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=9eabd542-8382-4835-a820-a46393346948&lang=en

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>