NASA developed tire technology for its planetary rovers could soon be seen equipped in the up-coming bicycle models. The announcement came as a piece of good news for the cyclist when Smart Tire Company said of using the Metl tire technology to build air-less alloys for cycles.
Metl is said to have the maximum flexibility a rubber material could have while matching titanium’s strength. These metl tires bring along several practical uses. It is expected that the material would be used for developing high-end, durable tires for vehicles and other forms of transportation soon.
It is the first time that airless ‘shape memory alloy’ technology is being used other than NASA’s planetary rovers. Metl was first used in 2017 on rovers beyond earth; given the materials’ strength and endurance on difficult terrain, it promised ever-lasting performance. Engineers also developed a supporting nickel-titanium alloy wheel capable of deforming to unbelievable levels and then forming back to its original shape.
The Metl developers leveraged the alloys to go through phase transitions under pressure to develop a durable bike tire. The new tires are promised environment friendly, offer 30 times the recoverable pressure of steel, and last for more than conventional wheels.
“Cyclists will not be able to wait to get their hands on these very cool-looking, space-age Metl tires that don’t go flat,” says Earl Cole, CEO of The Smart Tire Company. “The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with a next-generation, eco-friendly design, make for a revolutionary product.”
The metl tires would be produced in gold, silver, and metallic blue colors. These durable tires are expected to hit the market somewhere around 2022, and their pricing is yet unknown. The Smart Tire Company is also working in collaboration with a Ford-owned company, Spin, to produce metl tires for scooters. It has announced of developing the same for other means of communication.
“Shape memory alloys look extremely promising in revolutionizing the entire terrestrial tire industry,” says Santo Padula, a materials science engineer at NASA who helped develop the tire. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”