HANOVER, Germany (April 24, 2012)—Scientists from Leipzig University have developed a tire prototype they claim can alter its tread pattern geometry to adapt to changing terrain and weather.
The concept at this point is little more than an idea and a single prototype tire, but the scientists have applied for a patent on the concept nonetheless.
The concept tire's grooves are fitted with actuators or “shape-changing materials” integrated into it that allow the geometry of the tread pattern to change while the tire is rolling, according to Detlef Riemer of the College of Engineering, Business and Culture at Leipzig University.
The tire's ability to alter its tread pattern geometry will come from data generated by sensors molded into the tire that can read the terrain, the scientists said.
Among the materials being investigated are flexible actuators, piezo-ceramic actuators, shape memory alloys and “smart materials,” Riemer said.
Riemer and a team from the college are presenting the tire concept at the Hanover Fair, an annual trade fair held in Hanover.