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Goodyear moves toward 'no-air' tire tech

A unique aspect of the urethane tire is that it doesn't need air.  

By Marsha Walton
CNN Science and Technology

AKRON, Ohio (CNN) -- Goodyear Tires Thursday announced it is moving forward in the development of a non-rubber, blowout-proof tire for cars that could come in any color of the rainbow.

This would eliminate the danger of tread separation, which leads to accidents and blowouts. Drivers wouldn't even have to worry about flat tires.

Goodyear said the tire will be developed as part of an exclusive agreement it reached with Amerityre of Boulder City, Nevada. There's no time frame for beginning production. Amerityre produces urethane tires for bicycles, lawn mowers, and farm equipment.

"The urethane tire has been the Holy Grail of the tire industry for decades, so we are approaching this project with a good deal of prudence," said Goodyear vice president Joe Gingo.

Imagine this: No-flat tires  (June 17, 2001)

Urethane is the same material used for running shoe treads or online skate wheels. This material cannot go flat, and cannot blow out.

Amerityre CEO Richard Steinke said the promise of urethane is in its simplicity.

"Rubber is a polymer, urethane is a polymer, but ours is made of two basic ingredients, rubber is made with 30-plus ingredients," Steinke told CNN.

Roadworthy blessing needed first

Another unique aspect of the urethane tire is that it doesn't need air. Prototypes that Amerityre has created for cars and trucks ride better with a little bit of air (about 5 PSI, or pounds per square inch) but the tire is still functional for up to 1,500 miles with no air at all.

Amerityre CEO Richard Steinke (shown here) says the promise of urethane is in its simplicity.  

Steinke says another benefit of the technology is that the tires have no carcinogens, and are completely recyclable. And, in what could start a new fashion statement for car owners, the tires can be made in any color -- yellow, pink, you name it.

According to Goodyear, tire makers did a lot of research on urethane from the 1950s through the 1970s. But in those tests the products did not meet the standards of conventional tires for traction or resistance to cuts, and no product was commercialized.

Goodyear officials did not reveal any financial details of the agreement, and would not speculate on a time frame for any large scale production. And before they hit the road in the United States, the federal government must give its blessing that the product is roadworthy.

• Amerityre
• Goodyear

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