Tires are one of the most essential components of your car as, without them, your car won’t go beyond 0 km/h, nor accurately brake when necessary (this is obvious). They're made from rubber for one thing, to establish grip on concrete or asphalt so you can have full control of your car, as well as even contributing for better fuel economy.
That may change soon, as French tire manufacturer Michelin is considering wooden tires. Yup, wooden tires and the actual prototype won't look like one (we hope). The report was from the Australian website Motoring, in which they stated that the company looks forward to scratching oil content in tires and use wood chips instead.
This way, the company could lower the oil content, which makes up 80% of a rubber tire. It wouldn't actually look like what your imagination's cooking up right now – like obvious wood tires. Although there are no illustrations of the concept yet, Michelin's Cyrille Roget expounded that the said wooden tires will still have most of the existing components today.
“We have a project working with wood chips. We will use the waste from the wood industry to create elastomers that come into tires. The elastomers from wood chips will replace the oil content in tires. 80 percent of the materials in tires are coming from oil."
According to Motoring, the company is conducting some of its research on wood in Brazil where it structured a plantation for growing bananas and cacao, including rubber. On top of this, the tire giant is also looking forward to advancing its 3D printing plans and have made a joint venture with metal 3D printing company AddUp.
The aim is to produce a single set of tires for cars, which worn rubbers can be renewed the same way as the traditional re-capping of worn-out tires. Michelin is currently working on their rubber or polymer printing and are now in their early stages. Roget estimated a 10 to 15-year timeframe for 3D printing tires, saying it could get better with new technology. Welcome to the future, everyone.
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