CHANDAN B MALLIK, Kolkata: For a typical car owner, tyres are considered as distress purchase and once they wear out or get damaged, they have to be replaced. For commercial vehicle tyres, tyre re-treading can extend the usable like of tyres, but this too has its limitations.
Several tyre makers have experimented with different types of tyre concepts like airless tyres and now US tyremaker Goodyear has approached the subject with a different perspective.
Goodyear engineers have worked out an innovative regenerating tread compound which unlike conventional pneumatic tyres, the recharge integrates the wheel and rubber into a single assembly.
While it is still in the concept stage, Goodyear has released images showing how the system will function.
“The tyre is one of the few components that doesn’t stay on for the life of the vehicle,” says Goodyear chief technology officer Chris Helsel.
“It’s replaced quite often. So, the first problem was to solve was to make the tyre more of a permanent structure, as part of the vehicle itself,” he added. This is where the recharge concept comes in as it is positioned to be a sustainable solution.
How does it work? The crucial component is a pressurised cartridge embedded within the tyres. As the tread wears down, the mileage of the vehicle increases. The change in pressure from the surface will trigger the sensors to release a special compound that squeezes out of special channels to mould it into shape. Hence, this makes the recharge virtually everlasting until the compound runs out and would need replacement.
Interestingly, the tread compound is made from “biological material” reinforced with fibres. The compound is completely biodegradable, according to Goodyear.