New tire technology evolves past rubber and pressurized air


There’s nothing more frustrating as a driver than the shock and hassle involved in pulling to the side of the road to fix a suddenly punctured tire. Squatting on the curb and finagling your car’s stock tire jack while cars zip past inches from your body is hardly any one’s idea of a good time. Fortunately, and in collaboration with Polaris Defense, the US Military has been perfecting new tire technology that is neither pressurized nor made of rubber.

These┬ánon-pneumatic tires (NPTs) are made of closed-cell polyurethane foam whose webbed design allows for greater flexibility and durability against a variety of off-road terrain. Jason Difuccia, a┬áspokesperson for Polaris, says, “The load is carried in tension across the top of the wheel. The bottom of the wheel is designed to give in to obstacles like rocks, curbs, and other terrain.”

polaristtire2(Image credit: Polaris Industries)

Although these new tires are specifically designed for military and off-road recreational vehicles, let’s hope this technology will eventually influence the redesign of car tires.

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Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.

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