Published September 21, 2012
You know those herds of blown out tires on the side of the road? They may soon be endangered.
Goodyear has unveiled a new type of truck tire the company is developing that inflates itself.
The tire is fitted with a peristaltic pump, basically a tube with valves running along the bead. If the pressure gets too low, the valves open and the squeezing effect of the deformation of the tire rubber pumps air from the outside into the chamber until the proper pressure has been reached. Conversely, if a tire is overinflated it can lower the pressure to the correct level. No electronics are needed.
The technology is being developed with the help of a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy, as underinflated tires can have a negative impact of fuel efficiency. And in the case of an 18-wheeler, if one or more tires are low the others become overstressed, which is often the cause of blowouts.
Goodyear is still a few years away from a production version, but hopes to begin real-world tests of the technology next year.