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Old 5th June 2019, 11:40   #1
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Default General Motors working on Airless tyres

General Motors is partnering with Michelin to develop a revolutionary non-pneumatic wheel and tire combination for use on production cars and trucks.

If this does become a reality, flat tires will no more be an issue.
General Motors working on Airless tyres-mich1.jpg

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Source: https://www.foxnews.com/auto/general...-airless-tires


Related thread: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-...roduction.html (Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production)


Mods: Posted this as a separate thread since this technology is adapted by GM. Kindly merge into the previous thread if this does not warrant a new thread.
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Old 5th June 2019, 13:30   #2
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Default re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Quote:
Originally Posted by KA18 View Post
General Motors is partnering with Michelin to develop a revolutionary non-pneumatic wheel and tire combination for use on production cars and trucks.

If this does become a reality, flat tires will no more be an issue.
And in the developing world, cracked rims will be the most common problem with cars then. I know I am not a researcher in this matter but you know how our road conditions are, including what could be present on the road despite the road itself being in great condition

Tyre without air has been in existence in numerous forms since long and some of the fastest experimental cars have had airless tires. For common road usage, air based tires are hard to replace.

Last edited by sunilch : 5th June 2019 at 13:32.
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Old 5th June 2019, 17:58   #3
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Default re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Interesting work, I had always wondered why don’t we just have a spiral spring plate, wound inside a tire instead of air.

If we look into history, once upon a time the wheels used to be made of wood and then solid rubber (thanks to Mr. Goodyear for inventing vulcanisation). Although solid rubbers were better than wooden wheels, they were heavy and cannot absorb shocks very well. The invention of air filled tires by Dunlop/Thomson was a breakthrough providing superior smoother ride, lighter tires and is serving the whole industry since 1888.

The biggest advantage of pneumatic tires is the durability because most of the beating (dissipation energy) is taken over by the compressibility of air instead of just the solid rubber otherwise. Air, acts as an excellent elastic medium regardless of strain rates and shocks. More over it is a temporary store of energy that improves fuel economy.

I do see merit in this research as it would help us get rid of flat tires and the need to refill them once a while. The major challenges i foresee are Durability, Weight and the ability to adjust tension (much needed for certain surface conditions such as sand). It is not easy to replace a technology that has survived for 130 years and still going strong. A breakthrough is long due, something out of the box I suppose.

May be something like magnetic levitation where Tires and axles are not connected mechanically but are coupled magnetically. All shocks would now be absorbed by the magnetic field and can be also stored elsewhere. Considering the onslaught of EVs in the coming decades, I wish Maglev tires become a reality. Don’t ask me if there is a technology called Maglev tires, I don’t know, I’m here just thinking what kind of ideas can replace pneumatic tires.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 5th June 2019 at 18:05.
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Old 6th June 2019, 14:30   #4
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

For those interested in the topic, here's the full press release:

Quote:
Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel technology for passenger vehicles — the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype (or “Unique Punctureproof Tire System”) — at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility.

Michelin and GM also announced a joint research agreement under which the companies intend to validate the Uptis Prototype with the goal of introducing Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024.

Michelin and GM are testing the Uptis Prototype, beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Later this year, the companies will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.

Because Uptis is airless, the breakthrough wheel assembly eliminates the dangerous risk of flat tires and blowouts:

∑ Drivers of passenger vehicles feel safer on the road.

∑ Operators of passenger vehicle fleets minimize downtime and improve efficiency resulting from flat tires and near-zero levels of maintenance.

∑ Society at large benefits from extraordinary environmental savings through reduced use of raw materials for replacement tire or spare tire production.

The Uptis Prototype represents a major advancement toward achieving Michelin’s VISION concept, which was presented at the Movin’On Summit in 2017 as an illustration of Michelin’s strategy for research and development in sustainable mobility. The VISION concept introduced four main pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable (entirely renewable or biosourced materials).

The Uptis Prototype is re-engineered for today’s passenger vehicles, and it is also well suited to emerging forms of mobility. The vehicles and fleets of tomorrow — whether autonomous, all-electric, shared service or other applications — will demand near-zero maintenance from the tire to maximize their operating capabilities.

Uptis features ground-breaking improvements in architecture and composite materials, which enable Uptis to bear the car’s weight at road-going speeds. These innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load, and result in extroardinary environmental savings: approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear.

For more information, images and video please visit: www.michelinmedia.com/michelin-uptis.
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Old 6th June 2019, 15:05   #5
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

This is an evolution of the Michelin "tweel", which was first unveiled to the general public way back in 2005.

See https://www.michelintweel.com/tweel-FAQs-General.html

This is just the first time it sees application in road going passenger vehicles. Until now, it was restricted to use in golf carts, ATVs, and small construction equipment.

EDIT: Link from a 2005 NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/03/a...-tire-too.html

Last edited by KiloAlpha : 6th June 2019 at 15:07. Reason: Added link
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Old 6th June 2019, 16:27   #6
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Great concept. The slots/gaps would be pain to clean though. Maybe the product ready version of these tyres will have a sidewall covering up those slots to prevent dirt/debris entering.
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Old 6th June 2019, 21:21   #7
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
If we look into history, once upon a time the wheels used to be made of wood and then solid rubber
A newspaper excerpt from the 60s -

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Old 7th June 2019, 03:33   #8
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Don’t think this will be able to accommodate user preferences eg some people prefer more mileage so they have their tyres at the recommended pressure or slightly over, some prefer more comfort so they prefer slightly under pressured.

What about using different pressures on different terrains like sand, road, off-roading?

Maybe the way forward is to use a combination of both existing and new technologies like tubeless tires filled with lightweight, strong porous foam to a set strength that corresponds to let's say 25 psi and have the normal air valve to top up to whatever the user wants. This approach may have the advantages of air, like energy dissipation without the disadvantages like tyre bursts and pressure changes due to expansion/contraction of the air/water vapour.

Well now someone has to come up with the lightweight, strong and porous foam or equivalent.

Last edited by Relax&Cruise : 7th June 2019 at 03:34. Reason: Punctuation.
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Old 11th June 2019, 11:13   #9
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

What happens under acceleration and braking?

The compression we see on the lower spokes (while going over bumps) would be there on the sides (fore and aft of the hub) when looking from the side. Would be interesting to see how it changes the feel of the car and affects the design of the wheel arches to accommodate for it.
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Old 11th June 2019, 13:45   #10
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

I really hope they put Side-walls on these tires like the regular tires, since open gaps could pose a serious hazard if something gets stuck in it.


I somehow feel this is an intelligent way of increasing revenue, since the tread would still wear out at the same rate but the tires would cost a lot more.
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Old 11th June 2019, 13:53   #11
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

In fact, in one of the threads about tire burst, I had written about having metal springs attached and radially popping out from the rims surrounded by rubber tires.

Looks like this is a manifestation of the thought by filling rubber buffers in place of springs

I still believe a combination of above(I mean metal springs) with tubeless tires is the best. if in case of tire burst, car wont topple BUT the springs still hold the load temporarily till vehicle comes to rest.v

The torsional strength of rubber, in my view, may not be durable enough for 40K kms
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Old 11th June 2019, 14:44   #12
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Looks cool and hopefully Michelin and GM have done a fair amount of testing on this tyre.

Just wondering how one tyre will adapt to various loads. They should be manufacturing different variants of the same profile tyres for different vehicles. What I mean is the same tyre has different pressure recommendations in different cars. In Logan for 185/70/R14 the pressure recommended is 29 all around. I guess the same for Swift is 33.
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Old 11th June 2019, 17:20   #13
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

It would be interesting to see what happens when the car comes out of muddy water or slush. The mud and slush would go inside the gaps of those rubber fins making the wheel imbalanced. It would also require frequent pressure wash.
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Old 11th June 2019, 17:23   #14
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

Wondering if these would still have a life cycle similar to todayís tyres, since tread wear would continue to be a thing (in fact these might even wear out even faster due to the rubber supports weakening/wearing out under variable stress).
Also, what about the car experiencing more body roll due to these (which would also mean these things need to be really tough to not just handle the vertical pressure, but lateral forces too)? Air filled tyres squeak when we corner too hard, the mental image with these on does not inspire confidence. Even though i think these should be a win-win for off-roaders.
Not bashing innovation (itís high time we saw something groundbreaking in this area, especially considering how far the rest of the motorcar has travelled), plus the fact that we have big names working on these should mean something; but even though I agree that these will be a 100% robust as far as puncture resistance and inability to burst are considered, they wonít be as flexible, functionally, as the current gen of (breathing) rubber.
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Old 11th June 2019, 22:22   #15
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Default Re: General Motors working on Airless tyres

No air, no need to visit puncture shops, no need to carry air pump and puncture repair kit on long drives, lesser tire bursts, lesser sidewall damage, more ventilation for wheel components etc. My only concern is about wheel balancing with these open sidewall tires. If mud or something gets stuck on one side of wheel wall tire will be disbalanced, it will happen very often on our Indian roads.
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