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Bridgestone non-pneumatic airless tire concept announced

 Bridgestone non-pneumatic airless tire concept announced
Bridgestone non-pneumatic airless tire concept 08.12.2011

Japanese tire manufacturer Bridgestone announced today it has developed a non-pneumatic (i.e., airless) concept tire that could prove to be a safer and more environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional tires in the future.

Not only is the tire 100 percent recyclable but the unique structure of the spokes layered inside eliminate the need to maintain optimal air pressure. However, this is not to assume that any fuel savings would be realized if widespread use of such a tire was adopted. Another advantage, and perhaps the most important is that the non-pneumatic tire increases safety as the risk of punctures potentially causing a fatal collision is also eliminated.

Although we've seen this type of wheel before with the Michelin Tweel and Resilient Technologies' honeycomb design, Bridgestone states in a press release, "previously such concept tires have been impractical to produce for the mass market. Bridgestone developed this technology with the aim of practical implementation."

Despite all of its advantages, many questions remain. Is the non-pneumatic tire a direct replacement for conventional tires without making changes to chassis and suspenion design? Is the non-pneumatic tire applicable to high-performance driving? How about appearances? Will the spokes be covered or exposed on the sidewalls as seen in the photos? Will consumers accept its looks? Will the structural integrity of the spokes deteriorate over time?

Hopefully, Bridgestone will address these questions in due time, but until then, we remain intrigued.

New Environmental Technology for Tires of the Future

Bridgestone Corporation today announced it has developed a non-pneumatic (i.e., airless) concept tire that could prove to be a viable and more environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional tires in the future.

Bridgestone's Environmental Mission Statement outlines the Company's goal to help contribute to a more sustainable society, with particular emphasis on three areas - ecological conservation, resource conservation and reduction of carbon emissions. In support of the Mission, Bridgestone is working on various projects, like the non-pneumatic tire, that will ultimately contribute to a healthier environment for not just current, but also future generations.

Non-pneumatic tires have a lesser impact on the environment than today's conventional tires, but previously such concept tires have been impractical to produce for the mass market. Bridgestone developed this technology with the aim of practical implementation.

Special Features of Non-Pneumatic (Airless) Tire Technology

With a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tires supporting the weight of the vehicle, there is no need to periodically refill the tires with air, meaning that the tires require less maintenance. At the same the worry of punctures is eliminated. In addition, the spoke structure within the tire is made from reusable thermoplastic resin*1, and along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tires are 100 percent recyclable. As a result, the tires set a new standard in terms of environmental friendliness, safety and comfort.

Bridgestone is pursuing this technological development with the aim of achieving a "cradle to cradle" process that proactively maximizes the cyclical use of resources from worn tires into new tires and the use of recyclable resources.

Non-pneumatic tire (airless concept)

The non-pneumatic tire will be displayed at the Bridgestone exhibit at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011*2, which begins on November 30.

*1 A synthetic resin that becomes flexible when heated, can be processed into a variety of shapes, and becomes hard when cooled. The changes from heating and cooling can generally be repeated, making it easy to both mold and recycle the material.
*2 Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 are press days and Dec. 2 is a special guest day. The event is open to the general public Dec. 3-11.

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Comments (19)

CoySwint
THANKS BRIDGESTONE FOR PURSUING AIRLESS TIRE TECHNOLOGY! RUBBER TIRES ARE SO OUTDATED! AIRLESS TIRES WILL GO ALONG PERFECT WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES!!!
Dec 15, 2011 10:58 am
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Nordic sense
Michelin did this already on 2006, the invention was called Tweel. The projet was introduced on Audi A4 B6, as some mentioned that Audi was somehow involved in the project.
Dec 10, 2011 4:24 pm
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pzigly
The article says that Michelin Tweel was first to come out with this, but bridgestone is working on a tire that is actually practial to mass produce. Basically the germans have ideas that are expensive as hell and the Japs are here to make an alternative that is sometimes better and always cheaper
Dec 12, 2011 12:37 am
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AlikMalix
I thought Bridgestone was an American Brand... and saying "non-pneumatic" and "airless" in the same description is redundant.
Dec 9, 2011 3:39 pm
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norther
i think audi is testing this kind of tire before bridgestone. ive seen it in some documentaries, years ago. or is audi in a partnership with bridgestone for this project...?
Dec 9, 2011 12:50 pm
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bone91
so is this goodbye to low profile tires??
Dec 9, 2011 7:29 am
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nahidrahman
they'll probably make them wider to make them low profile
Dec 9, 2011 8:26 am
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TomitaBogdan
this is just the inside view, most definitelly the finished product won't be open. cornering with this would be hell, as there is no sidewall to keep it firm. i think this tire as shown is capable to roll over a supercar on cornering at high speeds. but as i remember the ideea is deveral years old, as some other prototype (the same principle as here) was presented to the public. i believe some audi was fitted with those tyres, in the test photos. i don;t remember exactly who the manufacturer was, maybe michelin..
Dec 9, 2011 5:18 am
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sideskraper
You don't need a sidewall. The mechanical elements will provide the support. Ever heard of non linear spring rates?
Dec 11, 2011 9:06 pm
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sideskraper
You don't need a sidewall. The mechanical elements will provide the support. Ever heard of non linear spring rates?
Dec 11, 2011 9:06 pm
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Tushar
what about mud..what if mud goes in the gaps of the spokes?
Dec 9, 2011 12:37 am
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progressive
Good question. There is too many issues. I hope they will work it out.
Dec 9, 2011 9:26 am
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Antichrist
I'm pretty sure it will be closed by the sides, the photos show an opened/cut tire just to show the internal structure.
Dec 10, 2011 12:21 pm
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sideskraper
Mechanical tires are the future. They will have a service life, but built into them will be indicators to allow operators to identify the life left in them. Depending on the implementation, some will have a hub that you purchase the mechanical tire and attach it to, the other and I hope eventually more popular approach will be keeping the mechanical tire and hub, whilst replacing the tread. One of the main benefits will be the ease and reduced cost of replacing the tread. Rather than replacing the whole tire and it's carcass, you simply apply a new tread.
Dec 8, 2011 10:03 pm
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najdier
That means we'll have hubs sold as accessories like iPad covers.
Dec 11, 2011 12:39 pm
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sideskraper
More like hubs will become like wheels are today.
Dec 11, 2011 8:41 pm
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CDspeed
I like the idea, I had a blow out on test drive in a Maserati I had hit the sport button and punched it, I hit 110 mph and the rear passenger side tire exploded. Luckily the car never lost traction and I was able to pull over, when I looked at the tire I realized how lucky I was, half of the side wall was gone leaving a massive hole. So I like the idea of airless tires to solve the problems we have with air filled tires, but if an air filled tire looks low you can just fill it they are easy to maintain. So I'd just like to know how long do the airless tires last.
Dec 8, 2011 6:33 pm
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teXas
Will conventional brakes fit?
Dec 8, 2011 6:07 pm
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MRAD
And an interesting side effect of tire spikes not being effective anymore, so bring on the endless police chases...
Dec 8, 2011 5:27 pm
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