2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Space Age Tires Come Down To Earth
Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology (SMART) is a super elastic material called Nitinol developed by NASA. Nitinol wire is woven to create a structure that flexes with the terrain.
“We developed the tires for future moon and Mars rover applications,” says Charles Weinberg, STC. “We use rubber and polymer integrations for treads and sidewalls with no metal in direct contact with the ground or the road. This gives the tires a long-lasting tread and grip for all weather conditions.”
The resilience and shock-absorbing nature of the tires are due to both the woven structure and SMART metal’s ability to rearrange its molecular structure. When it encounters an object, it flexes around it and instantly goes back to its original shape as it passes over the obstruction. NASA scientists report it can undergo 30 times the deformation of conventional materials. The tires are elastic like rubber, yet strong like titanium. They can deform down to the axle and return to shape.
This year STC will be launching tires for bicycles and scooters.
“We want to get the products out and let people touch them,” says Weinberg. “Bike tires will be priced at around $150, which is at the higher end for the bike tire market, but they’ll last for years.”
According to Weinberg, the bike tires are just the first step, to be followed by other off-road applications such as ATVs and UTVs in the next year or two. Eventually, Smart Tires will expand to cars and trucks.
“Car and truck tires require meeting DOT regulations and testing,” explains Weinberg. “Off-road equipment doesn’t involve 3 years to get certified for freeway traffic.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, The SMART Tire Co., Los Angeles, Calif. (ph 323-380-0887; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.smarttirecompany.com).
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