Sunday, September 05, 2010

Innovate with the Dead

Yesterday, The Backshop Academy of Sciences considered an idea for self-inflating inner tubes. Because most bike owners only inflate their tires (or have them inflated) when they get a tube replaced after a pinch flat from under-inflation, they would benefit greatly from a tire that maintains its pressure longer.

It occurred to us that if you put a dead rat in the tire, the gases of putrefaction would build up on their own until that phase of decomposition had ended. Then we realized that the weight of the rat carcass would cause the wheel to rotate unevenly. We would have to put the rat in a blender to create a rat slurry that would then decompose anaerobically inside the tube. We would use special apparatus to inject the slurry and change it for new mixture when the old batch was exhausted.

Larger tires would require a larger carcass, like a 'possum, or multiple rats. Of course, the use of slurry would simplify the process. A certain number of milliliters of any species of animal should suffice for a given volume of inner tube.

The idea of sticking a dead rat in someone's tire has a certain appeal for certain customers. Although the system needs quite a bit of work before it can be implemented widely, we may try some preliminary experiments.


Steve A said...

Besides the points you made, there would also be olfactory cues in the event of a slow leak. The trick is for the proper product name to justify the $29.95 list price.

limom said...

Boy, if I ever bring my bike to your shop, I'm bringing along a six pack and a pizza.
Just to be nice, don't you know.

cafiend said...

Steve A, excellent points as usual.

Limom: mmmm...Hawaiian pizza. Also bacon, broccoli and mushroom. And interesting beers on the dark side.

RANTWICK said...

Cafiend, you are the greatest. Rat slurry. Mmmmm.

A scientific question: how much air (oxygen) is required for the decomposing process? Would there be sufficient to support the rat inflation gases in a bicycle tube?

Or, put another way, would rat slurry decompose in a vacuum? If so, would anobidy smell it?

cafiend said...

As I understand it from only hasty research, gases are produced by anaerobic processes. So the question would not be whether the oxygen in the tube would support putrefaction, but whether the initial charge of air would inhibit it so that the rat gas system failed. An inert gas like nitrogen might delay decomposition until enough had leaked out for decay to begin. Then the gases of decay could take over as originally intended.

Yokota Fritz said...

Instead of putrefaction, how about self inflating tires through fermentation instead? Instead of a rat slurry, use a slurry of grain and yeast.

cafiend said...

Fritz! What an intoxicating idea!