By now, you might’ve heard of the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube. Hailing from Greenland, they provide some oddly fascinating, entertaining, and relaxing content: videos of various objects getting crushed by a massive industrial hydraulic press.
In this clip, they crush aluminum and steel wheels to judge the relative strength of each. Interestingly, they do so with the tires still attached, which comes into play toward the end of the video.
The first half of the upload shows the press exerting downward force on the rim of the wheel, like an extreme version of hitting a pothole. The aluminum wheel cracks across several of the spokes, while the rim of the wheel behind the face shatters. Amazingly, it took between 20 and 23 tons of pressure to destroy the aluminum wheel.
The steel wheel didn’t crack, but was crushed into a decidedly un-round capital “M” shape. No clear advantage to either style of wheel in this test.
The next text involved pressing the face of the wheel, simulating an extreme side impact with a curb or perhaps with another vehicle. This test proved to be much more dramatic.
The aluminum wheel failed catastrophically when extreme pressure was applied. All at once, the rim on the back side of the wheel gave way uniformly, bleeding all of the tire’s pressure out in an instant and sending the wheel, now with a completely destroyed face and spokes, rocketing up to smack into the press itself.
As for the steel wheel? The offset changed. The tire still held air, and it could have theoretically been bolted back onto a car—although we’ll leave that test to the professionals at the Hydraulic Press Channel.
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