The wheels are turning for the imminent public release of a new airless vehicle tyre.
South Korea-based Hankook Tyre recently announced it has successfully finished ride and handling tests of its non-pneumatic (airless) Hankook iFlex tyre.
Hankook has been conducting research on airless tyres since 2011.
Since then the company has set its sights on developing a non-pneumatic tyre (NPT) that possesses all of the benefits of a traditional air pressure tyre, while improving high speed capabilities.
The iFlex, which is made of eco-friendly materials, is the fifth NPT concept that Hankook has developed.
In addition to the goals Hankook has set for an NPT, the construction of the iFlex has revolved around an innovative type of uni-material created to make the tyre as eco-friendly as possible.
The tyre manufacturing process has become more energy efficient and product recycling has become simpler due to the material used during the development.
Hankook also altered its tyre construction techniques during the development of the iFlex, resulting in manufacturing process that has four steps instead of eight.
Once developed, Hankook put the tyre through a bevy of tests designed to discover its limits.
The iFlex was evaluated on its durability, stability, hardness, slalom (ability to zigzag), and speed.
The tyres were successfully driven at 130 km/h during the speed test.
Hankook concluded from the test that the iFlex prototype could match the performance of traditional tyres.