A square wheel may be the ultimate flat tire

Riding on Square Wheels

There's no way it can roll over a flat, smooth road without a sequence of jarring bumps. Stan Wagon, a mathematician at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., has a bicycle with square wheels. It's a weird contraption, but he can ride it perfectly smoothly. His secret is the shape of the road over which the wheels roll.A square wheel can roll smoothly, keeping the axle moving in a straight line and at a constant velocity, if it travels over evenly spaced bumps of just the right shape. This special shape is called an inverted catenary.

Source: sciencenews.orgAdded: 1 July 2008

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