Michelin "airless" tires?!

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When I lived in Iowa with a 15 minute drive on gravel we were always picking up nails. I don't think there was a month (out of a 6 mo period) where we didn't have a flat on one of our three vehicles. These things would be great about that... Maybe allow some way to put more tread on without buying a new wheel assembly... = great!
 
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There was a special report on the evening news about the Tweel about a year ago. They said that the only major obstacle to be hurdled is the high noise created by the Tweel.
 
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This makes me sad. Back in 1990 I designed a wheel that had a solid hub with a special type of shock that extended to a non flexible rim grooved with a grid. You would only pay to replace the tread and it would slide onto the external rim grid. The shocks would allow flex and eliminate the need for air. As a young adult I sent a letter to Michelin telling them that I had an idea to sell them (if they were interested) and that I would like them to sign a confidentiality statement. They replied that it would be confidential and to just send in what I had (They left a contact number). Being young and stupid, I agreed. They never returned a reply and when I contacted Michelin, they denied that the person that wrote the letter ever worked for them. Then I see this. While its just different enough, it makes me sick. I haven’t purchased from Michelin since.
 
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These popped up in a different forum that I frequent, and the main questions of how it would handle a few different situations came up. 1. Potholes, how would they handle this? 2. The curb scrub against the side of the tire that many people seem to do, how would this fare? 3. How does this affect traction? 4. Will the plastic become stiffer in the cold leading to an out of round tire? 5. How would this handle in multiple inches of snow or an icy patch in the winter? It would take a few opinions from unbiased drivers in real-world conditions before anything like that would hit my car. It would have to come down to the price of a normal tire as well.
 

Kestas

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I've spent my whole life studying cracked and fatigued material. Asking solid, non-elastomer material to undergo millions, or even billions of flexing cycles is courting disaster. Even elastomers have their unique problems. I wonder how they managed to deal with this issue.
 
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Interesting concept, but I don't see it happening anytime soon on regular passenger vehicles. Maybe we'll see them on race cars first? It looks like they would resist sideways flex and be great for cornering.
 
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It is a polyurethane based design, and the real issue is going to be the energy that is absorbed while driving and absorbing shock, it adds heat to the PU and there you go, reversion of the urethane bonds.
 
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