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Michelin takes aim at run-flat tires with self-repairing tires

Stuff (via the Sydney Morning Herald) has a piece on Michelin’s ongoing work on a self-repairing tires, an area in which Continental also is active.

The self-repairing tyre can be driven over nails without losing pressure, thanks to a new rubber compound that immediately plugs any holes in the tread. The tyre is not the first to have self-healing properties – Continental launched similar technology in 2009 – but Michelin says early versions of self-repairing tyres struggled to deliver the same performance as undamaged tyres, with the compound sinking to the bottom of the tyre if a car was parked for any length of time. This would create vibrations and affect rolling resistance, increasing fuel use.

Tires based on the Michelin technology are not yet available, but the company insists that the tires will be superior to run-flats because they can be driven at normal speeds if they’re punctured and offer better ride comfort. Like run-flats, self-repairing tires offer the benefits of allowing carmakers to remove the spare, thus saving weight and space, and reducing vehicle weight.

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