We have been witnessing different attempts at making an airless tyre. The reason behind these efforts is simple enough; we want the tyre to be independent of air. Because no matter how much you tweak and improve the existing tyre, the fact remains that it is dependent on the air pressure within it and once that drops, the tyre will be rendered useless. This time around, Hankook has come up with a tyre that won’t go flat and it is being called; Hankook iFlex.
Now; why is this big deal? Simply put, coming up with such a tyre is not easy; the tyre works in a variable and stressful environment. It has to cater for the weight of the car while taking care of the bumps as well. Furthermore, it has to take the impact of myriad of forces which are applied on it when the car accelerates, brakes or turns at corners. Not to mention the temperature that it must go through. Therefore, coming up with a tyre that is airless requires a unique combination of materials that is capable of dealing all the aforesaid conditions and deliver the same performance when compared with the conventional pneumatic tyres.
Back in 2011, Bridgestone attempted to make such a high profile airless tyre and we remember the Airless Tyre Concept which was shown off by Bridgestone. Hankook’s approach for the airless tyre, however, involves converting the wheel and tyre into a single unit. The wheel spokes extend up to the edge of the tyre and as per Hankook this assembly helps in distributing the weight in such a way that the bottom is compressed while the top is stretched. Material used for the construction of this tyre is polyurethane elastic and as per the company; 95% of the tyre can be recycled. It will be interesting to see how it fares when put to test. Check out the youtube video below for more details