What if you could ride your bike or e-bike anywhere without worrying about getting a flat tire? This is possible with the SMART Tire Company’s non-pneumatic tire that is resistant to flats. It uses materials designed by NASA for Mars rovers and is expected to provide a comfortable ride and be highly durable.
The METL tire is made from Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology (SMART), a superelastic material called NiTinol+, which “rearranges its molecular structure when you bend it, but instantly goes back to its original shape, perfectly.”
NASA’s Glenn Research Center has created a tire technology using shape memory alloy that is capable of traveling on rough and sandy surfaces without the need for air. Originally intended for use on planetary rovers, the superelastic tires are currently being developed for space applications at the research center.
This new tire design uses woven wires to create a flexible structure that can adapt to different terrains. It is equipped with a shock-absorbing material that allows it to navigate rocky areas without getting damaged.
SMART Tire has developed and patented a load-bearing design inspired by NASA technology. This design utilizes shape memory alloys, which can quickly and forcefully expand, contract, bend, or unbend, similar to rubber. The tire is capable of regaining its original shape through molecular phase transitions, even after experiencing extreme deformation.
In the future, tires will be a permanent feature of vehicles and will not require regular maintenance. A lightweight and flexible metal material that never gets punctured but provides a smooth ride will be an important part of transportation, especially for electric and autonomous vehicles.
Reference- The Verge, Clean Technica, Popular Science, Interesting Engineering, Futurism, SMART Tire Company PR and website