NASA once developed frame technology that also works on distant planets. In the future it should help to overcome several earthly problems at the same time.
SP-X / Los Angeles. NASA once developed aero frames made of wire mesh so that reconnaissance vehicles would not be punctured when deployed to foreign planets. California startup Smart Tire took this principle as an example to develop a bike tire called Metl, which is useful in several ways. It is set to hit the market in 2022 and could revolutionize the tire market.
The metal mesh, which is made of nickel and titanium alloy, should have a memory function that is flexible like that used with rubber tires. At the same time, the internal structure must be strong and therefore virtually not corroded. Other advantages: there is no need to inflate tires, and malfunctions with Metl tires will be a thing of the past. The tire is supposed to last more than the bike’s life cycle, which will also save resources, because the environmentally unfavorable disposal of old rubber tires will be dispensed with. However, it does not work completely without rubber, because the running surface has to be covered with polyurethane, providing the necessary cohesion.
Success will likely depend, among other things, on the driving characteristics of the Metl tire. Smart Tire promises high traction even on wet roads and is compatible with many popular types of bicycles. The price will be important to the success of the market, but the startup has yet to comment on it.