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Riding on space-approved flat-free tires

The SMART Tire Company (STC), part of the FedTech NASA Startup Program, aims to make flat-free tires, originally developed for space travel, commercially available for terrestrial use.

Since 1967, US-based space agency NASA has been developing groundbreaking technologies for driving on the Moon and Mars. Called Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology (SMART), STC now wants to make these tires commercially available.

The tires were originally developed for missions on Mars, where there are no roads and temperatures can be -100 degrees Celsius (read more about the Mars tires here).

The tires are airless, durable, on and off road suitable, and they will never go flat. They are made of a special advanced material called NiTinol+ (nickel titanium), a shape memory alloy that is elastic like rubber, but strong like titanium.

The SMART Tire has a patented load-bearing design that takes advantage of the unique properties of shape memory alloys. These special metals can expand, contract, bend or unbend at a very rapid rate (like rubber) and with so much force that it can move heavy objects. Even with extreme deformation, the tire regains 100% of its shape through phase transitions at the molecular level.

The first product will be a a new kind of bicycle tire, METL™, but the company aims to also develop tires fro electric scooters, automobiles, trucks and even airplanes.

Photos: STC