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NASA Creates Chainmail Tire That Can Tread Any Terrain And Always Stays In Shape

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  • NASA has developed a tire that could run on any terrain on Earth and possibly other planets in the universe.
  • The Superelastic Tire is made of special alloys that allows it to remember and return to its original shape in case of deformation.
  • The “chainmail tire” could be the tires of the future.

NASA has just reinvented the wheel. The agency has created a chainmail tire that can take on just about any terrain. In addition to that, the sturdy yet light tire can be deformed all the way to the rim and still pop back to its original shape.

The innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research center developed the Superelastic Tire, a new innovation that is described as “a game-changing, non-pneumatic, compliant tire.” It was originally developed by the agency for future Moon and Mars missions. However, it is also a viable alternative to pneumatic tires used for regular cars and military vehicles here on Earth.

The chainmail tire can take on any terrain in Mars, the Moon, or even Earth.

So how does the Superelastic Tire manage to retain its shape? The innovation uses shape memory alloys like nickel titanium (NiTi) and its derivatives. The shape memory alloys can undergo significant reversible strain (up to 10%). This enables the tire to withstand more deformation than other non-pneumatic tires before undergoing permanent deformation.

“Commonly used elastic-plastic materials (e.g. spring steels, composites, etc.) can only be subjected to strains on the order of ~ 0.3-0.5% before yielding. Hence, the use of a NiTi shape memory alloy produces a superelastic tire that is virtually impervious to plastic deformation. In addition, the utilization of shape memory alloys provides enhanced control over the effective stiffness as a function of the deformation, providing increased design versatility.”

In addition to eliminating the possibility of puncture failure, the Superelastic Tire doesn’t require air and doesn’t have an inner frame needed for wheel assembly. Not surprisingly, people believe that the chainmail tire could be the future standard for vehicles.

A closer look at the Superelastic Tire.

It is still unclear if and when the Superelastic Tire will be made available for the public. In the meantime, it’s a sign that cars could look very different in the future.

Learn more about the Superelastic Tire below:

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