Goodyear 3D printed tire gathers moss for cleaner air

Goodyear has developed a 3D printed concept tire designed as a solution to rising pollution levels in our cities.

According to Chris Delaney, President of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa, “With more than two-thirds of the world population expected to live in cities by 2050, the demands on transport networks in urban environments will increase substantially,”

“Smarter, greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial in addressing the most pressing challenges of urban mobility and development.”

Presented at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, the Oxygene tire is devised to stimulate conversations about how the automotive industry can provide cleaner solutions for people and the environment.

A rolling tire, gathering moss…

In Goodyear’s proposal, Oxygene is made from a rubber powder, recycled from disused tires. It is 3D printed by a conceptual selective laser sintering (SLS) process, and assembled by robotic arms.

Inlets in the tire have been designed to contain moss that absorbs moisture from the road through the tread, and releases fresh oxygen through photosynthesis.

As an example, Goodyear explains the potential impact the tires could have; “In a city similar in size to greater Paris with about 2.5 million vehicles, this would mean generating nearly 3,000 tons of oxygen and absorbing more than 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.”

Goodyear's Oxygene moss tire concept. Image via Goodyear
Goodyear’s Oxygene moss tire concept. Image via Goodyear

3D printing going green

Though Goodyear’s Oxygene tires are far from becoming a reality (especially with added electricity features and in-built “Li-fi”),  3D printing is proving helpful to the environment.

Identified as a sustainable manufacturing solution, many 3D printers and industrial additive manufacturing systems use a feedstock based on recycled waste. Fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, is one ingredient in-development as an efficient insulator for 3D printable geocement and large-scale construction.

For plastics, non-profit organization Greenbatch and filament manufacturer Reflow are just two initiatives recycling plastic drinks bottles to make 3D printer materials.

So far, the closest the technology has come to making 3D printed tires are metal molds, and the “airless” tire concept presented by Michelin in 2017. The European Union has also launched a €2.7 million project to produce greener 3D printer materials specifically for use in the automotive industry.

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