Can we make airless tyres a reality?

A puncture-free future could be feasible, but not for all drivers.

11th September 2016
Can we make airless tyres a reality? (Michelin)

We’ve toyed with the idea for decades – they were used on NASA’s Lunar Rovers – but it’s taken some time for the non-pneumatic tyre to catch on as an everyday proposition in mainstream vehicles. Finally, in the last year or so, Michelin has commenced sales of its airless Tweel, though it’s only really designed for use on construction vehicles and agricultural equipment.

Replacing air-filled inner tubes with polyurethane spokes has obvious advantages – no more punctures, for a start – though this type of fabrication is more prone to breakage, vibration and heat build-up, which makes it far from ideal for use with high-speed road cars.

 


Get more fascinating Q&As from BBC Focus magazine by following @sciencefocusQA

You are currently reading: Can we make airless tyres a reality? - 11th September