Airless tyres - science fiction or science fact

Posted by: Cal on 11/03/2013

Category: General

Try to imagine what it would be like to drive a car with absolutely no air in its tyres. It would be pretty hard, right?

It sure would! If not impossible. The air in car tyres don't just smooth the ride, they also assist your engine by reducing friction between your vehicle and the road surface.

Pneumatic tyres have been standard practically since their inception at the end of the 19th century, yet new developments seek to do away with air in vehicle tyres.

Why is that? Well, pneumatic tyres can be problematic for rough off-road conditions, such as those endured by many military vehicles. Even with all terrain tyres, the strain of extreme conditions can cause blowouts.

That's why US manufacturer Polaris has developed a tyre which doesn't use air at all. Rather, the inside of the structure is made up of a flexible web of plastic of its own devising.

"The tyre works very similar to a bicycle wheel, where the load is carried in tension across the top of the wheel," Polaris spokesperson Jason Difuccia told Fox News in an article published March 6.

"The bottom of the wheel is designed to give in to obstacles like rocks, curbs and other terrain."

It will likely be years before such tyres are are more widely used, yet it goes to show that even for an invention over a century old, innovations still keep coming.