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#98763 - 10th Oct 2004 12:07am Michelin unveils airless tire
Tony MK2 Offline
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Registered: 2nd Dec 2003
Posts: 2943
Loc: Wirral
Michelin unveils airless tire


PARIS -- Michelin unveiled an airless tire on Tuesday designed to weather tough road conditions in fast-growing countries like China and India.

Michelin said its "Airless Wheel" and "Tweel" tyres, which will be presented at the Paris auto show this week, were still at the concept stage but would hopefully hit the mass market in 10 years.

The tires, which Michelin hopes to adapt for motorcycles, cars and heavier vehicles, are non-pneumatic and made of elastic. That means they are better able to absorb shock, making for a smoother ride on often pothole-riven roads in less developed countries, it said.

"There is a robustness that is especially designed for fast-growing markets, like China and India, where the roads and infrastructure are not as well developed as ours," said Didier Miraton, Michelin's head of r&d.

Miraton said designs for future tires such as the Airless Wheel tended to use an increasingly wide range of materials, so Michelin would be less reliant on natural rubber, which dominates the tire industry.

Michelin, famed for the star ratings it gives upmarket restaurants, will also present its "Active Wheel" concept tire at the auto show, which opens to the press on Thursday and the public on Saturday.

Miraton said this tire would react better to road conditions and to turning corners, and would be able to operate via a cleaner electric fuel cell engine.

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#98764 - 10th Oct 2004 12:21am Re: Michelin unveils airless tire
Scooby Offline
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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 5327
Loc: Birkenhead, Wirral.
Automobile Show
Michelin unveils three major innovations for tomorrow’s mobility

The Paris Motor Show is a great opportunity for Michelin to share its vision of mobility for the future. At its booth, the Group is unveiling three innovations from its research centers, which could well revolutionize our driving experience within a decade or two: Michelin Airless, Michelin Tweel and Michelin Active Wheel. Travel into the future . . .
First, Michelin Airless:
Imagine a tire that no longer needs to be inflated, and is therefore maintenance-free and puncture-proof (it’s easy, it doesn’t contain any pressurized air!)
We describe it as a “fly trap*”, a radial structure made of high-performance composite materials on which a rubber tread is bonded.

When in due course the tread wears down, all you need do is have it retreaded. The radial structure, on the other hand, is designed to last as long as your vehicle itself. Michelin Airless is very well adapted not only to passenger cars but also to two-wheel vehicles.

* The fly trap, invented by a Michelin research engineer, Marius Mignol, is the prototype tire which gave rise to the radial tire. It has metallic arches every 1.5 cm or so around the tire. The tread is bonded to the arches.

Second, Michelin Tweel:
Another puncture-proof, retreadable solution. The name “Tweel”’ is the contraction in English of “tire” and “wheel”. It’s a non-pneumatic (or airless) wheel, made up of a rubber tread bonded to the hub through flexible spokes. Rather than a wheel plus a tire, we now have a single product─ the Tweel.
Mounting and removal operations will thus be simpler. To start with, Tweels could be fitted on vehicles with small wheels, such as wheelchairs, thus substantially improving the mobility of disabled people. As the Tweel is extremely resistant, we are working on a range of other applications including smaller earthmover and military vehicles.

The third leap into the future comes with Michelin Active Wheel.
This wheel actually houses a traction engine. Drivers of cars fitted with four such wheels will be able to select two or four-wheel drive.

Michelin Active Wheel also features an active suspension system which delivers dramatically improved comfort, handling and stability. Indeed, this integrated suspension system will enable drivers to control vehicle behavior when breaking and turning.
This wheel is designed for battery or fuel-cell powered electric vehicles. With Michelin Active Wheel, such vehicles will no longer need any gearbox, clutch, transmission shaft, universal joint or anti-roll bar.


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