This is how METLs are, the bike wheels with NASA technology: they neither have to be inflated nor (theoretically) they get punctured
The usual punctures on the bike could be a thing of the past soon. That’s at least what a statup called The Smart Tire Company raises, which has announced the development of a unique bike wheel they have called METL (Martensite Elasticized Tubular Loading).
That wheel is special because it takes advantage of the same technology that NASA developed to protect the wheels of rovers exploring the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. The promise is certainly remarkable: you will never need to inflate them and they will not puncture.
Reinventing the wheel
NASA needed reinvent the wheel. The missions with their Rover exploration vehicles could not be exposed to possible punctures, and researchers at the Glenn Research Center they got down to work for create its “superelastic wheel”, an evolution of the “Spring Tire” also created by this center in collaboration with Goodyear.
This superelastic wheel It is based on a material called NiTinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium Thanks to its atomic structure, it allows the wheel to “have memory” and regain its shape over and over again without permanent damage when it deforms when rolling on all types of terrain and obstacles.
This technology that was designed for space missions also has practical applications on our planet, and we have a good example in bicycles, which can now be enjoyed thanks to the work of The Smart Tire Company and your METL wheel, which could arrive in 2022.
Is these wheels are likely to be expensive and are currently aimed at a market niche in which cyclists spend a lot of money on their bikes – something more and more common – but the promise of these wheels is fantastic for those fans who have been seeing potential solutions for the puncture condemnation.
The wheels will make use of material created by NASA, but to improve grip on the surface —Which is not particularly good if the wheel is made of metal without more than a coating with a kind of mesh of a material called Polyurethanium that will make it possible to circulate on all types of pavement.
That mesh will need to be replaced from time to time, but that cost will be much lower, they say, that the change of wheels as up to now has been done.
Progress is certainly promising, and if those promises are kept we are facing a potential revolution of a segment that you might see renewed efforts of the traditional tire manufacturers: Michelin and General Motors have already announced the development of Uptis, a car tire with the same idea, so the trend seems to pick up steam.
More information | The Smart Tire Company