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A to Z of Car Tech: V is for virtual reality and valve stems

The letter V in our A to Z of car tech series explores virtual reality and the function of valve stems

The technology contained within the modern motor car can be both fascinating and slightly baffling. Most such technology exists to make our cars safer, more efficient and just better than ever to drive but some of it can be quite confusing for the average motorist. In this A to Z series we will attempt to unravel the mystery of technology that is the modern motor car. This week, we’re visiting the letter V…

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V is for…virtual reality. In everyday life, virtual reality probably makes you think of computer gaming, in which realistic images, sounds and sensations are generated digitally to replicate a virtual environment.

The first ever reference to VR can be traced right back to 1938, when French writer Antonin Artaud used the term “virtual reality” to describe the magical events that sometimes happen on stage at the theatre.

For the modern car market, however, virtual reality is very much a growing technology, which can be used to “virtually” test cars long before they reach production. It can also allow customers to sample products in minute detail without physically needing to get behind the wheel.

V is for…valve stem. Ever wondered why the air inside a car tyre doesn’t just blow straight back out when you remove the pump? No, thought not…

But if you did, it’s because of something called the Schrader valve stem. This features a small poppet valve that opens via a spring when depressed to allow air in – but then closes automatically, not just because of the spring but because of the pressure that builds inside the chamber once the pump is released.

Other valve stem designs include the Presta valve, the Dunlop valve and the magnificently named Regina valve, used mostly in Italy – but the vast majority of road car tyres use the Schrader valve design.

Still listening at the back of the class?   

Next, the letter W…

A-Z of car tech
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