The Tyre Collective Captures Microplastics Shedding from Tyres
While much has been said and done about the plastic plague on the planet, microplastics are a rather new issue. They are difficult to detect, which makes them more difficult to deal with; and the vehicle tyres have become a constant source of the microplastics, to which there was no solution, until now. A team of student designers has designed The Tyre Collective, a simple device that captures microplastics as they wear off the vehicle tyres. The creation has won this year’s the UK National James Dyson Award.
According to the designers, the device will help to achieve zero emissions by using electrostatic and airflow around the tyre to capture the tiny plastic particles and other small particles that are shed off by a tyre during its lifetime.
The device is capable of catching up to 60 percent of the particles worn off of tyres, which is a significant contribution as a study in Nature Communications says tyres are one of the largest sources of ocean microplastics.
Everyone focuses on air pollution being directly from the engines themselves and coming out of the exhaust pipe but what people don’t necessarily recognize is that tire wear is a huge contributor to that. We come from all four corners of the globe and bring with us a wealth of knowledge in mechanical engineering, product design, architecture and biomechanics.
Said Hugo Richardson, one of the members of The Tyre Collective.
Richardson and the three other students, Siobhan Anderson, Hanson Cheng and M. Deepak Mallya, share a desire to use design in a way that advances environmental causes. With the world moving toward renewable energy and enhancing technology of electric vehicles, a device such as The Tyre Collective could play a crucial role in making vehicles more eco-friendly.
One of the judges of the James Dyson Award, Sophie Thomas said,
We were unanimously drawn to The Tyre Collective for their creative innovation around this urgent issue of microplastic shedding from tires. This collaborative, multidisciplinary team questioned and challenged, building an approach that demonstrates the crucial role of design and enquiry when we search for solutions to these global problems.
The tiny particles that are collected through the device can be recycled to make new tires, ink or other materials. Currently, the design is a prototype; however, the team hopes to use its £2,000 (approximately $2,600) reward for finding a way to expand its product sustainably.