Threadbare rubber, damaged treads, blowouts. Car tires wear out and must be replaced, right? Maybe not. If a new technology works as planned, changing tires may become a thing of the past.
According to the auto experts at Car and Driver magazine, most tires last just six to 10 years. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company wants to increase that time frame to . . . well, forever. This spring, the company debuted a concept tire, one not on the market yet. The space-age reCharge model offers an unheard-of option for revitalizing worn, damaged tires: regeneration.
Since the first sin, it’s been the nature of earthly things to wear out. However, people who believe in Jesus Christ experience the ultimate regeneration—new hearts, new minds, and eternity with Him in a new Earth to come. So even though clothes fray, people age, buildings crumble, and tires degrade, Christians can look forward to eternal life through God’s mercy. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Titus 3:5)
Goodyear’s concept tire is lighter than a normal rubber tire. The reCharge looks the part of a tire of the future. It’s taller and narrower. Plus, there’s no air, so flat tires shouldn’t ever be a problem. But the most amazing part of the reCharge is that it never wears out—because it also retreads itself.
Here’s how this astonishing self-fixing tire works: A refillable container plugs into the center of the tire. As the tire tread wears down, a specially engineered liquid discharges from the container. It seeps toward the surface of the tire, pushing through a grid of capsule-shaped treads. The liquid oozes into the worn parts, replacing missing tread.
To visualize this, picture forcing frosting through the bowl of a colander. Now look at the underside. The frosting would create bumps (tread). In the tire, the liquid quickly turns to a solid and “Voila!” Instant retread.
For making the liquid retread, engineers took inspiration from spider silk, one of God’s natural wonders. (See “Spider Web Inspires Surgical Tape.”) The resulting material is both strong and stretchy—important traits of functional rubber objects like tires.
Goodyear engineers claim their futuristic tire not only regenerates but also uses artificial intelligence to “adapt and change.” The reCharge morphs to work better in bad weather, under hazardous road conditions, and with fast (or slow!) drivers.
So far, Goodyear isn’t saying exactly when its regenerating tire will come to market. But drivers can look forward to the day that reCharge rubber meets the road.