“Advent of Self-sealing tyres could very well make tyre punctures a thing of past. However, the feasibility of this technology and its adaption to the real-world scenario is yet an unexplored arena”
Doesn’t matter if you spend north of a million dollars or a few thousand bucks on a car, because a petty, scourge of a nail, would still hold the power to bring the buzz to a halt. While things may not look so grim with Run Flat tyres, punctures are still a big cause of worry for the car owners.
But what if the tyres were to heal all by themselves? Too much of optimism? Well, not really! Researchers from Harvard have developed a rubber compound which has the potential to repair itself and seal punctures.
Developed at Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), this self-sealing rubber compound depends on hyrdogels to incorporate reversible bonds which heal the puncture.
Rubber molecules are joined by covalent bonds which are quite strong to be broken easily. But once broken, they can be joined only through strong reversible bonds.
So far, achieving such a breakthrough had been a herculean task, owing to the weak nature of these reversible bonds responsible for sealing the leak.
But now, researchers have come up with an advanced rubber compound comprising covalent as well as strong reversible bonds. Scientists and Industry experts are touting this creation as a potential game changer.
The new tyre compound comes equipped with a hybrid fibrous rope woven around the rubber. This hybrid rope comes in to the play by stretching and redistrubuting the stress generated by a nail on the tyre. This disseminaton of force prevents punctures and severe damages to the tyres.
As of now, there are products like tyre sealant which prevent flat tyres by sealing the hole with a silicone gel. But unlike Self-sealing tyres, none of them is intrinsically integrated with the rubber compound.