Over the past century, against the backdrop of tremendous changes in the car design, the concept of tires has changed little - it's all that toric (or steering wheel-like) hollow rubber part, pumped with air.
We can say that tires have evolved, albeit in a long but most reliable way - evolutionary, and tire manufacturers constantly accumulated an array of knowledge and technologies. Nevertheless, attempts to imagine what the tire of the future will be like to continue with enviable regularity.
One feels that the developers' imagination is enough only for the desire to replace the pneumatic tyre with a structure where other elastic elements work instead of air.
But, let's get practical.
We must not forget that no matter what technical innovations the car receives, and no matter what is in the wheel between the rim and the inner part of the tread, one thing remains unchanged - the area of the contact patch of the tyre with the road, which on average does not exceed the size of a human palm. Therefore, the near future task for pragmatically minded engineers remains to improve the adhesion properties of the tread.
What does the future of tyres look like?
We had to communicate with developers from different countries and companies. When asked what the tire's quality is the most important for them, everyone answered without hesitation- safety. Therefore, we should expect that the main work for the coming years will develop in the following areas:
- Improving the properties of the rubber compound. It is expected that the rubber will become even more elastic and work more efficiently on wet surfaces and fill in the unevenness of the road, further increasing grip. Simultaneously, these qualities will be better combined with high mileage and low rolling resistance, which will reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions into the atmosphere. For winter and off-road tires, these qualities will be complemented by an increased temperature range.
- Improving the framework. The first direction is a further reduction in tire weight due to new polymer materials with a simultaneous increase in their strength. The second is the optimization of the contact patch, which remains optimal under various dynamic loads.
- Further improvement of the tread pattern of all types of tires: summer, winter, all-season, off-road, and their varieties.
It is these seemingly mundane properties that tyre workers are most concerned about in the near future. And it is too early to write off-air as a damping element. With the different carcass, tread and rubber compound, this will create tyres with very different properties, and the field for engineers is still very wide.
What tyre concept should I opt for?
For fans of technical wonders, we recommend taking a closer look at other Hankook tyre concepts, .just in the field of traction optimization.
On an membrane tire, the center of the tread retracts at low speeds to reduce rolling resistance and fuel consumption, while at high speeds, it lowers to increase traction and control.
For high-speed cars, the Tilt read wheel is designed; it consists of three vertical segments that tilt and shift relative to each other in turn, maintaining the contact area.
Lovers of off-road driving may be interested in the Motiv concept, which also consists of vertical segments, only two. And the tread blocks can move independently, adjusting to the difficult terrain of the road. It remains to add that all these concepts so far exist only in the form of computer models. Even the best-rated SUV tires are headed that way.