New Airless Tire Aims to Save Military Lives - Tire Review Magazine

New Airless Tire Aims to Save Military Lives

(Wards Auto World) An innovative, non-pneumatic tire being tested by a U.S. National Guard unit in Wisconsin could prove to be a lifesaver for combat troops patrolling in High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.

Invented by Resilient Technologies LLC in a research project with the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the U.S. Department of Defense, the airless tire employs a patent-pending, 6-sided honeycomb construction and took two years to develop.

Graduate students Nick Newman and Eric Foltz from UW-Madison’s Polymer Engineering Center (PEC), working under mechanical engineering professor Tim Osswald, are helping with the design and buildup of prototypes, as well as with testing and simulation trials.

PEC is a subcontractor in the project, but the design was achieved in Resilient’s research and development facilities in Wausau, Wisc.

“We wanted to create more of a matrix of cells within the tire, and it seemed kind of natural to go with the honeycomb’s hexagon shape,” says Foltz, noting other shapes didn’t work as well.

Resilient is now using a massive, rolling-road flywheel device to test the durability of the prototypes by simulating thousands of miles of highway driving.

If the tires and wheels hold up to these stresses, they eventually could be manufactured for use on military Humvees, which frequently become sitting ducks when their tires are punctured by hostile fire or explosive devices.

Other potential applications for the honeycomb tires include all-terrain vehicles and construction equipment, as well as passenger vehicles. (Tire Review/Akron)

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