Michelin Unveils 3D-Printed, Rechargeable, Biodegradable Tire Concept

rgMekanic

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At the 2017 Movin' On conference in Montreal, Michelin has unveiled Vision, it's newest concept airless tire. Vision is an airless tire-and-wheel in one, made from from organic, bio-sourced materials that are both recyclable and biodegradable. Its tread is rechargeable via 3D printing, which allows it to be altered quickly for various seasons or use cases. It's also connected, equipped with sensors that provide real-time information about its condition.

Michelin has been dabbling in the Airless Tire concept for a while now, currently offering the Tweel for light machinery, lawn tractors, and golf carts. The Vision concept is pretty cool idea, albeit a bit ugly. A fairly neat aspect shown in a video posted by Michelin is a "Print & Go" station that can change the style of your tires tread on the road depending on your destination, climate, and driving style. While longevity, cost, and ride comfort are all important questions that remain to be answered, what we really need to know is do they come in orange?

Michelin's Vision tire is constructed using 3D printing technology. This enables an airless interior architecture that mimics alveolar structures (such as the air sacs of the lungs) that is solid in the center and more flexible on the outside, resulting in a tire that is immune to blowouts or going flat.
 

DejaWiz

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They should field trial this with spare tires first, then move on to primaries after any kinks, bugs, flaws, and gotchas are addressed.
 

Bandalo

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They should field trial this with spare tires first, then move on to primaries after any kinks, bugs, flaws, and gotchas are addressed.
Not a bad idea, but how do you rack up testing miles on a spare tire that spends 99.99% of it's life in the trunk?
 

DejaWiz

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Not a bad idea, but how do you rack up testing miles on a spare tire that spends 99.99% of it's life in the trunk?
Get car manufacturers on the hook...they'll sell millions every year and still have an ample sample size to work with.
 

Burticus

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Not a bad idea, but how do you rack up testing miles on a spare tire that spends 99.99% of it's life in the trunk?
Not according to what I see driving to work every day. I see donut tires everywhere.... but yes 99% of mine have led happy lives in the trunk. Except one time when I desperately needed it, and it went flat 10 seconds after I started driving on it. I drove that donut rim into the GROUND, not like I had many choices. Low 90's, prior to the cell phone invasion. Now I'd just call a tow truck in the pouring rain.
 

drescherjm

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Not sure I want my tires to be biodegradable. Although I guess it depends on how long it takes to break down.
 

Bandalo

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Get car manufacturers on the hook...they'll sell millions every year and still have an ample sample size to work with.
I'm sure you can get most of the big "bugs" worked on the test tracks. The only thing you'd really need road tests for is things like long-term wear and such. I mean honestly, you can simulate everything from rough roads and pot holes to extreme weather conditions on the track or in the lab.

The problem with rolling these out (no pun intended) as spare tires is you'd get very few miles, even if you put them in a million cars. You'd get more testing miles if you put them as the main tires on 100 cars.
 

DejaWiz

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I'm sure you can get most of the big "bugs" worked on the test tracks. The only thing you'd really need road tests for is things like long-term wear and such. I mean honestly, you can simulate everything from rough roads and pot holes to extreme weather conditions on the track or in the lab.

The problem with rolling these out (no pun intended) as spare tires is you'd get very few miles, even if you put them in a million cars. You'd get more testing miles if you put them as the main tires on 100 cars.
I was thinking more from a liability standpoint...1 experimental temporary use spare coupled with three regular tires seems a bit safer than all four corners fitted with experimental tires.
 

Bandalo

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I was thinking more from a liability standpoint...1 experimental temporary use spare coupled with three regular tires seems a bit safer than all four corners fitted with experimental tires.
From a stability and handling standpoint, this would be terrible. Too much difference in handling characteristics between this new tire and 3 other tires. Liability-wise, they'll do a TON of track and lab testing before these see public roads with non-tire-company drivers. I think the worst they'd have to worry about would be short tire life or crappy traction in certain conditions.
 

B2BigAl

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In the winter the tires going to fill with ice.
I'm sure if these ever made it to full scale production, they would cover the sidewalls with something or print them as part of the tire. I think this is a great idea if they can make it work and have the same or better performance characteristics as regular vulkanized rubber. It would be amazing to be able to reprint the tread for track day, then reprint it for all season when you're done. Plus this has got to be cheaper than regular tires, and it would eliminate the millions of tons of rubber we burn off on the road every year. Seems like a win-win to me.
 

DejaWiz

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From a stability and handling standpoint, this would be terrible. Too much difference in handling characteristics between this new tire and 3 other tires. Liability-wise, they'll do a TON of track and lab testing before these see public roads with non-tire-company drivers. I think the worst they'd have to worry about would be short tire life or crappy traction in certain conditions.
A spare typically doesn't fare any better...the max recommend speed is 50 MPH and no more than 50 miles driving on it.
 

cyclone3d

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A spare typically doesn't fare any better...the max recommend speed is 50 MPH and no more than 50 miles driving on it.
I drove on the highway in my 280zx on the original space saver/inflate to full size spare at about 75mph for about 70 miles. By the time I got home there wasn't much left of the tread.

That and it handled really weird compared to 4 matching tires.
 

KarsusTG

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You figure a west Texas road, the speed limits are 80/85mph with people actually doing close to 100mph. my 1500 pickup truck with a normal load in the bed is around 8200lbs. It can get well into the 120+ degree's range and the tar can and does regularly melt on the roads... I just don't understand how they are going to get anything printed to stand up to a normal load like that. And that is not even "performance" stuff or HD stuff...
 

mesyn191

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They aren't even listing a price or availability date so this is probably just a glorified demo right now.

The concept itself is pretty damn interesting, I hope they do something with it.
 

krotch

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Not sure I want my tires to be biodegradable. Although I guess it depends on how long it takes to break down.
If you look at something like PVC, that's considered biodegradable. Even though depending on the PVC, it won't start decomposing for 10+ years. Some PVC can last up to 100 years.
 

Jim Kim

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Semantics

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Wonder what the new "stop sticks" will look like.
Tangle netting the problem is easy quick deployment with compact size, price tends to be much higher but it's not outside the realm of possibility for bigger local or state agencies. That's not a completely unjustified cost they are much more effective at stopping a car safely and permanently Just can't buy one for every patrol car.
 

jedijeb13

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So...dry rot?
That will be why extended real world testing is needed. You can hit them with UV light and salt and many other things, but time and stress and the unlimited combination of reactive substances encountered in the real world just can't be done in the lab.

The gaps in the tread filling with snow would actually make them better in the snow, since good snow tires work best by actually holding snow in the treads. Snow sticks to snow better than rubber does. I always thought self cleaning mud tires would be best for snow, but mud tires are the worst thing in the snow, and snow tires are the worst thing in the mud. Learning a lot of thing like this with my Jeep now. I just wonder how these would hold up in the rocks and mud for off road use?
 
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