The Smart Tire Company, a young company that is associated with NASA, announced that it will soon begin marketing bicycle tires that are based on technology developed by the space agency for its rovers.
Through a federal Space Law Agreement with that entity, the startup is developing the first consumer application of NASA’s shape memory alloy wheel (SMA) technology. It will be a futuristic bicycle tire called METL.
These tires, originally developed by the space agency, are super elastic, airless and will never go flat. They are made from a special material called NiTinol, which is a shape memory alloy, elastic like rubber, but strong like titanium.
This means that it can be restored to its original shape after some inconvenience. It is strong and elastic enough to go through uneven surfaces without breaking. This tire emerged as part of projects to help rovers navigate Mars, where the terrain is complex and temperatures can reach -200 degrees.
The novelty is that this technology now also reaches the Earth and soon users could count on these “unbreakable” tires, since the company will launch bicycle wheels with this light, flexible material that can move without problems in different environments.
The company also highlights that they are manufacturing greener tires. “Many major tire problems can be solved with our technology. These include less weight, less rubber, a higher load that is not governed by tire pressure, fuel efficiency, zero punctures and a significant reduction in waste ”, they underline in their official statement.
And they add: “More than a billion tires a year reach the end of their useful life due to wear. More than half are burned for fuel and billions of pounds of waste go to landfills. Perhaps worst of all, tires are the source of 20-30% of all ocean microplastics. Developing a long-lasting tire for the circular economy is a central objective of our company, to leave a positive global footprint and with greater social awareness ”.
The company points out that this technology, which arose from space projects and will now reach bicycles, could in the near future be used in scooters, cars and trucks. According to its creators, it is the beginning of a breakthrough that will revolutionize the tire industry.
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