Michelin Unveils Airless Fibreglass Tyre

Michelin have unveiled a series of new tyre developments for this years Paris Motor Show including an airless tyre laced with fibreglass.

The biennial motor show offered Michelin opportunities to showcase their latest developments, whilst offering an insight into the future development of tyres.

Michelin Airless is just one of three innovations exhibited at the show which, according to Michelin, "could well revolutionize our driving experience within a decade or two".

The Michelin Airless tyre is being promoted as a maintenance free and puncture-proof tyre, that does not require inflating, labelled by Michelin as a "fly trap*", a radial structure made of high-performance composite materials on which a rubber tread is bonded.

The tyre is made from 115 rings of tough resin laced with glass fibre and remains roadworthy even when shot with a rifle. Tests show it will outlast the average car, Laurent said, leaving just the outer treads to be replaced periodically. No date has yet been set for its commercial launch.

The fly trap was invented by a Michelin research engineer, Marius Mignol, and is the prototype tyre which gave rise to the radial tyre.

According to a Michelin, "when in due course the tread wears down, all you need do is have it re-treaded. The radial structure, on the other hand, is designed to last as long as your vehicle itself. Michelin Airless is very well adapted not only to passenger cars but also to two-wheel vehicles".

"No more pressure checks, no more flats, no more spare wheels," said Daniel Laurent, Michelin director of conception and development.

The tyre operates with a maximum safe speed of 270 kilometers per hour (170 miles per hour) with the prototype performing similarly to inflatable tires - with important differences.

Publication date: 30/09/2004

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