NASA offering pneumatic alternative tyre technology for licence

Thursday 7th December 2017 | 0 Comments

Scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research centre are offering a non-pneumatic tyre up for licence as part the space agency’s technology transfer programme.

The “superelastic” tyre was developed for future Mars missions but is said to be a viable alternative to pneumatic tyres here on Earth. This technology represents the latest evolution of the spring tyre which was invented by NASA Glenn and Goodyear, and inspired by the Apollo lunar tyres

The novel use of “shape memory alloys” capable of undergoing high strain as load bearing components, instead of typical elastic materials, reportedly results in a tyre that can withstand excessive deformation without permanent damage. Using shape memory alloy as radial stiffening elements can also increase the load carrying capacity of the tire. The superelastic tyre is designed to offer traction equal or superior to conventional pneumatic tyres and eliminates the possibility of puncture failures, thereby improving automobile safety.

Suggested applications include: all-terrain vehicles, military vehicles, construction vehicles, cars, heavy equipment agricultural vehicles and aircraft.

The tyre’s shape memory alloys are capable of undergoing significant reversible strain (up to 10 per cent), enabling the tyre to withstand an order of magnitude more deformation than other non-pneumatic tyres before undergoing permanent deformation. Commonly used elastic-plastic materials (e.g. spring steels, composites, etc.)

Furthermore, the Glenn Superelastic Tire can be made to soften with increased deflection, reducing the amount of energy transferred to the vehicle during high deformation events. In addition, the use of shape memory alloys in the form of radial stiffeners, as opposed to springs, provides even more load carrying potential and improved design flexibility. This type of compliant tyre would allow for increased travel speeds in off-road applications.

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