Airless Tires: No Beading on Rims
Unveiled in a declaration by the US Patent and Trademark Office, CarBuzz found that Ford is developing wheels purposely engineered for using airless tires – suggesting that there may be groundbreaking advancements in the near future in this area.
Airless tires are nothing novel. Last year, Goodyear flaunted their most advanced manifestation and a couple of months ago Michelin disclosed fresh developments; however, many attempts at refining the technology solely center upon converting the tire itself. Ford has adopted a distinct approach with their patent notably implying that the customary wheel could be minimized to a smaller size — i.e., a distinctively divergent scheme from what we’re habituated to — which thus provides an effective means to mount airless tires and effortlessly take them off during replacement.
The patent outlines a wheel and tire assembly that may be constructed as two separate parts, enabling the core (alloy wheel) and the airless tire–featuring flexible spokes unlike current airless tire designs that feature just a tire taking up the space of a typical tire–to be detached. Both components would have complementary angles and vertices to ensure that the outer section that serves as the tire can be compressed onto the core, secured by recessed grooves.
An option could be to have the hub of the wheel with a gradually diminishing size towards the outer edge, taking on a tapered cone shape. This would make it relatively simple to slide in a new tire/rim assembly onto the wheel hub. Afterward, a locking ring would be able to keep the rim and tire together securely.
Airless tires do not rely on pressurized air to offer a cushioning effect and bear the weight of the vehicle. Instead, they are equipped with polymeric spokes (various compositions of materials for varied surfaces and conditions) that absorb the shock created due to impacts, avoiding the possibility of a breach in the seal formed by compressed air between the tire edge and the wheel.
In the event of damage, it appears that a Mustang can still execute burnouts with airless tires. You can still drive securely despite the tire’s condition and replacing it should be easier and faster compared to current techniques. Furthermore, substituting a wheel style would not necessitate a new wheel, just an available airless tire in a dissimilar spoke design.
In short, this patent puts forth another approach to producing airless tires, hinting that this technology may soon become available to the public. It is merely a matter of figuring out whose strategy for non-inflatable tires will be the most effective.