Originally invented by NASA for use in lunar and Mars rover missions, there is a new type of bicycle tire that is elastic like rubber but strong like titanium. It exhibits a memory perfectly without even being flattened. Essentially, it is the tire of dreams.
Made of gold, silver and metallic blue, METL tires are made from advanced, lightweight materials known as NiTinol +.
They are the first consumer application of alloy wheel technology that NASA will use to carry out future rover missions over rough terrain without hiccups (or punctures). And they are being developed as a partnership with the startup SMART Tire Company.
“Riders can’t wait to get their hands on these cool-looking space-age tires that won’t go flat,” says Earl Cole, former Survivor: Fiji SMART Champion and CEO, in a sentence.
“The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with next-generation eco-design, make it a revolutionary product.”
SMART was founded in 2020 by Cole and blockchain engineer Brian Yennie. Together with former NASA engineering intern Calvin Young, the SMART team has consulted with inventors at NASA’s Glenn Research Center to bring the power of shape memory alloy wheel technology to the general public.
Thanks to their ability to undergo molecular-level phase transitions under stress, these alloys are unlike any other material, exhibiting thirty times the recoverable stress of ordinary steel.
In other words, according to Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch, NASA’s key development has been to “create an alloy that can return to its shape at the molecular level, which means that it can be deformed to accommodate uneven terrain, including obstacles such as gravel and potholes, and return to its shape without losing integrity. structural over time. “
Additionally, SMART METL tires are good for the planet, using durable materials that reduce rubber waste. The ultimate plan? For these tires to establish themselves as the main high-tech component for the modern rider in road, gravel, mountain and electric bike applications.
“Shape memory alloys look extremely promising to revolutionize the entire land tire industry,” says Santo Padula, a NASA materials science engineer, “and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
METL tires will be available to the cycling community in early 2022 before hopefully reaching the automotive industry and beyond. And SMART has also partnered with Spin, the leading micro-mobility provider, to develop SMA tires for e-scooters.
Puncture-immune bicycle tires even on the most bumpy roads? Raise your hand if you can’t wait to try this new technology.
(CLOCK Mashable’s video on this innovation below).
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