By: TIRE BUSINESS
December 2, 2013
Bridgestone Corp. has upgraded its "Air Free" non-pneumatic concept tire with improved load-bearing and speed capabilities and reduced rolling resistance.
The second-generation Air Free uses spokes made of an undisclosed thermoplastic resin running parallel to each other at roughly a 45-degree angle, connecting the hub to the outer rim/tread structure. The spokes of the first generation Air Free intersected, forming a honeycomb-like structure.
Bridgestone debuted the second-generation Air Free at the Tokyo Motor Show, under way in Tokyo through early December. The concept tire is mounted on a 900-pound, two-passenger compact city car capable of a maximum speed of 36 mph
The speed capability is a 10-fold increase over the first-generation Air Free, which Bridgestone showed at the same show in 2011.
Bridgestone claims the materials used in the Air Free are recyclable which, when combined with the product's reduced low rolling resistance properties, make it particularly environmentally friendly.
The Tokyo-based tire maker said it is pursuing this development in order to achieve a "cradle-to-cradle" process of producing new tires from worn tires.