A New Spin on Gears

Magnetic gearsDid people who drove the first cars look back at the horse-drawn carriage and wonder why something as obvious as a self-propelled vehicle took so long to invent? Some advances just make perfect sense. Drew Turney reports.

Gears are greasy, dirty, hot and sharp as teeth grip cogwheels to transmit torque. They cost a lot, wear out quickly and often need decidedly unenvironmental inputs like petroleum or other fossil fuels.

So it’s been up to Victoria-based inventor Andrew French to change all that, upending the field from work begun in the late 80s on a Hunter Valley farm with colleagues to replace the metal teeth of traditional gears with contactless magnetic wheels.

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