Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Hankook Develops Airless Tire

The idea for an airlesstire has been around for a while, and concepts pop up here and there, but Hankook Tire has announced development of the iFlex; the company’s fifth prototype for a non-pneumatic tire (NPT).

NPT tires, as their name suggests, do not require any air pressure and have a hollow honeycomb structure.
Hankook’s iFlex also claims an earth-friendly focus with greener materials and fabrication methods used.

According to Autoweek, Hankook has been working on the technology behind the iFlex since 2011. To ensure its safety, Hankook tested the iFlex with slalom, durability, hardness, stability and speed tests. The current speed tested limit on the iFlex tires is 81 mph, so there is definitely room for improvement.

Being the fifth prototype, the iFlex has allowed Hankook to make improvements not only on the tire itself, but with how the tire is manufactured. Constructing the tire takes four steps instead of eight, as it had in the previous iterations. Hankook says the change in materials makes the iFlex easier to recycle when it reaches the end of its lifecycle, and the new materials also lend to the ease of manufacturing.

Of course, it's all theoretical right now: There is no word on when Hankook expects to have NPT tires on the market, and the company is mum on an expected price.


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