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2011-12-23

Reinventing the tire – without air

It’s a dream come true: drive a vehicle without worrying about a flat tire or insufficient air pressure. Bridgestone has presented a concept for “airless tires”.

Bridgestone airless tire (source: [1])

Instead of via air, the new tires stay flexible via spokes made out of a thermoplastic resin (a polymer compound that can be shaped while heated and remains fixed when cooled). Features:

  • Completely recyclable (one of the goals of the project).
  • The tires can carry loads of up to 150kg. Quoting Inhabitat [1]:
    So far, the company has been testing the airless concept on a small one-seat electric vehicle [weighing about 50kg], and it plans to continue developing the technology for wider commercial use.
  • Remaining challenge: preventing objects from getting caught in the spokes.
  • Advantage for cars: no need to carry a spare tire, resulting in space and weight savings.
This technology would be especially nice for bicycles where punctures are the weak spot.

Further information:

  1. Bridgestone's New Air-Free Tires are 100% Recyclable | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World” by Mark Boyer for Inhabitat
  2. Video: “Bridgestone Air-Free Concept Tyres” by DigInfo TV

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