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Airless Tire Project May Prove A Lifesaver In Military Combat

Airless Tire Project May Prove A Lifesaver In Military Combat

by Staff Writers
Madison WI (SPX) Jul 01, 2008
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Air...Prove_A_Lifesaver_In_Military_Combat_999.html


Rarely does one come across a business where the phrase "reinventing the wheel" is not just a metaphor, it's an operating principle. An ambitious startup company in this central Wisconsin city is exploring that very challenge with a project to develop tires that can withstand extreme punishment, even those meted out in military combat zones.
Resilient Technologies is working on a four-year, $18 million project with the U.S. Department of Defense and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to research and develop a non-pneumatic tire for use on heavy-grade military vehicles such as Humvees.


The project could literally be a lifesaver for the military: In many situations in Iraq, tires have proven to be weak links in Humvees that enemies target with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.


"You see reports all the time of troops who were injured by an IED or their convoys got stranded because their tires were shot out," says Mike Veihl, general manager of Resilient. "There's all sorts of armor on the vehicle, but if you're running in the theater and get your tire shot out, what have you got? You've got a bunch of armor in the middle of a field."


The company has made remarkable strides in just over two years of operations, cycling through literally hundreds of prototypes, developing subscale airless tires for lawn tractors, and finally the featured product: In April, Resilient installed a set of its creations on a Wausau-based National Guard Humvee, where it is undergoing rigorous on- and off-road tests.
Company reps say that Resilient's partnership with UW-Madison's Polymer Engineering Center (PEC) has played a major role in setting the high-speed development pace. The center serves as a subcontractor in the project and provides two graduate students under the general direction of mechanical engineering professor Tim Osswald.





In addition to conducting basic polymer research, the PEC works with dozens of companies, big and small, on materials testing and product development, says Osswald. The Resilient project presented one of the more complicated challenges his lab has seen, given the complete rethinking taking place in the design and the high levels of performance the tire must meet.


The Wisconsin design breakthrough, first developed by Resilient's in-house design and development team, takes a page from nature. "The goal was to reduce the variation in the stiffness of the tire, to make it transmit loads uniformly and become more homogenous," Osswald says. "And the best design, as nature gives it to us, is really the honeycomb."





Osswald and graduate students Nick Newman and Eric Foltz ran tests and simulations that helped Resilient confirm the quality of its unique design concept. They also studied other airless tire designs, including Michelin's "Tweel," to determine their properties compared to the Resilient design.
The patent-pending Resilient design relies on a precise pattern of six-sided cells that are arranged, like a honeycomb, in a way that best mimics the "ride feel" of pneumatic tires. The honeycomb geometry also does a great job of reducing noise levels and reducing heat generated during usage - two common problems with past applications.


NOTE: There is a civilian version of this currently underway, extremely similar, called "TWEELS", something that bridges the gap between wheels and air-filled tires.

Those things are pretty ugly on a expensive set of 18"s :)

Umm...

Tried to imagine how they'd look on my truck. eeehhh I dunno.

I'm wondering how they would stand up in an AO like Afghanistan that chews up rubber like it's paper. They don't look that indestructible to me.:2c:

I generally get to change a Ute or Heavy Rigid truck tyre 3 or 4 times a month. Anyone who can stop this from happening gets first shout at any pub anywhere.

BUILDING A BETTER TIRE:Resilient Technologies's "non-pneumatic tire" (NPT) is designed to continue supporting the Humveeget troops out of harm's wayeven if a roadside landmine or small arms attack destroys up to 30 percent of the tire's honeycomb structure.

erwlef.jpg




http://www.scientificamerican.com/s...&photo_id=B3400296-9949-F45D-64C225D9C729BD57

Amazing things they keep coming up with. Good one.


;)

Really amazing technology. Many times the only thing standing in the way of progress are those who profit from the status quo.

There's advantages and disadvantages to both types of tire...

I still think a combination of the two would be best... allow the pneumatic system for increased traction etc and a run-flat similar in design to that, with tread on it that would allow significantly longer duration run-time vs the standard runflat.

Ranger Psych said:
There's advantages and disadvantages to both types of tire...

I still think a combination of the two would be best... allow the pneumatic system for increased traction etc and a run-flat similar in design to that, with tread on it that would allow significantly longer duration run-time vs the standard runflat.

What is the advantage to the pneumatic tire? Smoothness? Or are there handling advantages?
 

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