METL: this airless bicycle tire contains NASA technology

The technologies developed by NASA often end up in everyday products. The same could well be the case for this tire which incorporates an innovation from the American space agency.

Credit: SMART
Credit: SMART

NASA willingly commercializes technologies developed for space exploration. For its new airless and particularly resistant tire, the start-up SMART, founded last year, uses just such technology. This was used in the development of the space agency’s lunar and Martian rovers.

A super resistant tire

Developed by NASA, shape memory alloy (SMA) technology is the basis of this tire made entirely of interconnected springs, without the need to inflate anything. Therefore, this tire is completely insensitive to punctures! And despite the lack of air inside, it provides equivalent or even better traction than inflatable rubber tires.

This unique design also helps absorb shocks. SMA is an alloy capable of recovering its natural form at the molecular level. It can therefore be deformed to adapt to the most extreme conditions such as on Mars, but without ever losing sight of its normal form. The tire therefore retains its structural integrity over time.

An ideal invention for exploring the depths of space, but which can also be used on Earth, and why not in a bicycle! SMART used SMA to design its airless tire, called METL. It will be understood that this product is intended for manufacturers, whose activity is not lacking in view of the explosion in the use of bicycles all over the world. The start-up has also signed a first partnership with Spin, a bike-sharing company owned by Ford.

And it’s not over yet: after serving the cycling community, SMART also wants to approach car manufacturers.

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