Superelastic tire is suitable for both Earth and Mars
Engineers and researchers are working hard to prepare us for life in space. Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research centre reinvented the wheel by creating a new kind of tire, developed for future Mars mission. The Superelastic Tire is non-pneumatic, and serves as an alternative to pneumatic tires on Earth as well.
The new technology represents the latest evolution of the Spring Tire that was invented by NASA Glenn and Goodyear, and inspired by the Apollo lunar tires.
Rather than typical elastic, pneumatic materials, the researchers used memory alloys (mainly NiTi and its derivatives) as load bearing components, which are capable of undergoing significant reversible strain. This enables the tires to withstand deformation without permanent damage, more so than other non-pneumatic materials, while providing enhanced control and increased design versatility.
The Superelastic Tire offers traction equal or even superior to conventional pneumatic tires. It also eliminates the possibility of puncture failures, thereby improving automobile safety. This tire design also eliminates the need for an inner frame, which both simplifies and lightens the tire/wheel assembly.
For other tires of the future, click here.
Photos: NASA (via Designboom)