Bridgestone Unveils It in Japan
Larry Jewett - December 07, 2011 11:05 AM
Bridgestone Corporation has announced the development of a non-pneumatic (i.e., airless) concept tire that could prove to be a viable and more environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional tires in the future. The announcement was made in Tokyo.
Bridgestone’s Environmental Mission Statement outlines the Company’s goal to help contribute to a more sustainable society, with particular emphasis on three areas – ecological conservation, resource conservation and reduction of carbon emissions. In support of the Mission, Bridgestone is working on various projects, like the non-pneumatic tire, that will ultimately contribute to a healthier environment for not just current, but also future generations.
Non-pneumatic tires have a lesser impact on the environment than today’s conventional tires, but previously such concept tires have been impractical to produce for the mass market. Bridgestone developed this technology with the aim of practical implementation.
With a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tires supporting the weight of the vehicle, there is no need to periodically refill the tires with air, meaning that the tires require less maintenance. At the same time, the worry of punctures is eliminated. The spoke structure within the tire is made from reusable thermoplastic resin. The synthetic resin becomes flexible when heated, can be processed into a variety of shapes, and becomes hard when cooled. The changes from heating and cooling can generally be repeated, making it easy to mold the material. Along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tires are 100 percent recyclable. As a result, the tires set a new standard in terms of environmental friendliness, safety and comfort.
Bridgestone is pursuing this technological development with the aim of achieving a “cradle to cradle” process that proactively maximizes the cyclical use of resources from worn tires into new tires and the use of recyclable resources.
There was no word on a timeline for availability in the United States.