METL™ tires are made from shape memory alloys developed at NASA. © SMART Tire Company and NASA

Air-filled tyres? Difficult in the atmospheric conditions. Changing tyres? Not possible. So, what kind of tyres would suit a rover planned for use on the moon or Mars? For challenging applications such as these, NASA is developing innovative tyres that are made of shape memory alloy and function without air. In cooperation with NASA, The SMART Tire Company has now launched the first consumer version of the airless SMA tyre technology. The innovative, environmentally friendly bicycle tyre is called METL™ and is made of a lightweight material known as NiTinol+. Its purpose is to enable a tyre that is elastic like rubber and yet strong like titanium, offering the perfect shape memory without ever going flat. The METL™ bicycle tyre is available in the colours gold, silver and metallic blue, while the company says the tyre has a “space-age, metallic look and feel”. “The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with a next-generation eco-friendly design, makes for a revolutionary product”, said Earl Cole, CEO of The SMART Tire Company. “Shape memory alloys look extremely promising in revolutionising the entire terrestrial tire industry”, said Santo Padula, materials science engineer at NASA, “and that is just the tip of the iceberg.” The METL™ tyres are due to be available for the cycling community as of early 2022.

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