See Through Tyres - Radical New Tyre Design Photographs
Outline Email claims that a series of attached photographs show a radical new airless car tyre design being developed by Michelin that will soon be on the market.
Such tyres do exist and have been dubbed "tweels". However, they are not new and Michelin has no immediate plans to release the tyres to consumers for use on normal vehicles. Development of the tyres over the last few years has focused on their suitability for use on low speed applications such as construction vehicles. Certainly, tyres based on the tweel concept may one day replace conventional tyres, but any such change is likely to be some years away.
Radical new tyre design by Michelin.
The next generation of tyres.
Recently released at the Philadelphia car show.
Those are spokeslike connections to the inner part of the tyre from the outside tread 'wrap'!
Next picture shows what they look like in motion...
These tyres are airless. They are scheduled to be on the market soon. Bad news for law enforcement as spike strips will not work on these.
Think of the impact on existing technology:
A. No more air valves
B. No more air compressors
C. No more flat tyres
D. No more puncture repairs
E. No more jacks or spares required.
These are actual pictures taken in the South Carolina plant of Michelin.
This message claims that a series of attached images depict a radical new tyre design that has been developed by tyre giant, Michelin. The photographs show a tyre that is not inflated with air like traditional tyres, but rather an airless design consisting of an outer tread wrap connected to a solid inner hub via spokes arranged around the wheel in a wedge shaped pattern. According to the email, the "new" tyres are scheduled to be on the market soon.
Such tyres do exist, but they are not new nor are there any immediate plans to release them for use on normal road vehicles. In fact, the tyre - dubbed the "tweel" because the design combines the tyre and wheel into one unit - was first announced by Michelin back in 2005. A January 2005 CBS News article notes:
Bart Thompson and other engineers at Michelin are trying to reinvent the wheel with the Tweel. The tire and wheel are bonded and become one.
"You can see the shock-absorbing capability when I jump off this ramp here," said Thompson.
But the real headline is "no air" -- which means no flat tires ever again.
"It's like a guitar string," says Thompson. "It's tension tight."
But the article also notes that the tweel is still just a concept with regard to use on normal cars. Road testing reveals some flaws with the tyre. According to information about the tweel on HowStuffWorks.com, there are vibration problems when vehicles fitted with tweels are driven at more than 50 mph. The tweels also generate more heat than conventional tyres and
they are excessively noisy when driven at speed. Moreover, because they are so radically different to conventional tyres, very major - and expensive - changes to the existing tyre manufacturing industry would need to be implemented. The tweel would also have a significant impact on the tyre servicing industry. The HowStuffWorks.com article notes:
Because of these flaws, Michelin is not planning to roll out the Tweel to consumers any time soon. "Radial tire technology will continue as the standard for a long time to come," said Michelinís press release touting Tweel development. They are initially working on Tweel use in low-speed applications, such as on construction vehicles. The Tweel is perfect for such use because the high-speed vibration problems wonít come into play, and the ruggedness of the airless design will be a major advantage on a construction site. Michelin is also exploring military use of the Tweel.
A 2006 news item on the Michelin website provides more information about the potential use of the tweel on small, lightweight earthmover vehicles.
Thus, although such airless tyres may one day be standard equipment for our cars, it is unlikely that consumers will be able to buy and fit tweels to their vehicles for some years to come.