Is this the future of tyre technology? Non-pneumatic tyre? Tyre that doesn’t needs air? That is an interesting concept to think of. Without the need of air, there is no more possibility of tyre puncture which will definitely helps for worry-free ride. The spokes holding up the tyre in the inner part are from thermoresin plastic that is recyclable, that adds up to more parts that can be recycled other than the center hub. Along with the low rolling friction with the tyre, there will be lower needs to use the engine power to move the vehicle.
There will be some more years before we can really see this kind of air-free tyre available for the masses. Further reading is provided by the official release by Bridgestone:
Bridgestone Corporation revealed its second generation “Air Free Concept (Non-Pneumatic) Tyre” at last month’s 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. The revolutionary new design features improved load-bearing capabilities, environmental design and driving performance. The latest improvements to the “Air Free Concept Tyre” brings Bridgestone one step closer to a viable, commercially available air free tyre.
Special Features of “Air Free Concept Tyre”
With a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tyres supporting the weight of the vehicle, there is no need to periodically refill the tyres with air, meaning that the tyres require less maintenance. At the same time the worry of punctures is eliminated. In addition, the spoke structure is made from thermoplastic resin*1 and, along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tyres are recyclable, contributing to the efficient use of resources. Further, by pursuing extremely low rolling resistance and contributing to reductions in CO2 emissions through use of proprietary technologies, Bridgestone believes it is possible to achieve even higher levels of environmental friendliness and safety. Bridgestone is pursuing this technological development with the aim of achieving a “cradle to cradle” process that proactively maximizes the cyclical use of resources from worn tyres into new tyres and the use of recyclable resources.
New technologies used in and special features of the second generation tyres are as follows.
1. Increased Versatility Through Improved Load-Bearing Capabilities and Driving Performance
Bridgestone is further optimizing the spoke structure by using high-strength but flexible high-performance resin as a material and employing finite element method (FEM) simulations in the design to reduce stress and deformation in the inner part of the tyre. By doing so, the second generation of “Air Free Concept tyre” has increased versatility through improved load-bearing capabilities and driving performance compared with the first generation *2. High-speed travel (maximum 60 km/h) in ultralight vehicles*3 has also become possible.
2. Pursuing Low Rolling Resistance to Reduce CO2 Emissions
About 90% of energy loss from tyre rolling resistance comes from repeated changes in the shape of tyres as they roll. In the second generation of airless tyres, Bridgestone has succeeded in making a significant reduction in energy loss by using proprietary materials technologies and simplifying the structure of the tyres. As a result, these “Air Free Concept tyre” have achieved the same level of low rolling resistance as our pneumatic fuel-efficient tyres, making possible a contribution to reductions in CO2 emissions.
The Bridgestone Group’s Environmental Mission Statement outlines its goal to help contribute to a more sustainable society, with particular emphasis on three areas: ecological conservation, resource conservation, and reduction of CO2 emissions. The statement clarifies the direction of the Group’s long-term environmental aspirations as it pushes forward with a variety of activities that contribute to environmental preservation. Bridgestone is advancing development of the “Air Free Concept tyre” as a more environmentally friendly product than existing tyres and aims to bring about commercial use in a wide range of vehicles as soon as possible.
Bridgestone believes that through effective resource usage and efficient operations alongside reduced CO2 emissions from improved fuel efficiency, as part of its aim to achieve a balance between its business and the environment, it can continue to offer attractive products to its customers far into the future. The Company will continue to implement multiple technological innovations to help bring about a more sustainable society.