SEOUL, South Korea—A pair of Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. concept tires has earned International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), completing a trifecta of design awards for these concepts. The concept tires—the Tiltread and eMembrane—were designed and produced in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati.
The designs were part of a “Tire Design for the Future Environment” competition staged in 2012 by the university and the tire company. The Tiltread is actually a hydraulic tire and wheel system that mates three separate, relatively narrow non-pneumatic tires together and induces the package to lean, much like motorcycle tires, into corners.
This tilting system, which maximizes the contact area of each partitioned tire and lowers a car's body by tilting the shaft during cornering, theoretically enables safe and powerful turns, Hankook said. The non-pneumatic tires are puncture-resistant from the outset and also possess high durability and elasticity for “outstanding cornering,” according to Hankook.
The system is designed to help maximize performance in high-powered vehicles. The eMembrane design is a multi-use tire for performance and regular city driving, the Seoul-based tire maker said. By using “shape memory alloys” that change the contact ratio of the tire tread according to a car's speed, eMembrane is designed to produce minimal road contact area and ground contact when driving at low speeds, thus reducing rolling resistance and enhancing fuel efficiency.
When driving at high speeds, the tread center extends to generate maximum ground contact with a wider contact patch, thereby maximizing grip for “dynamic cornering” and performance driving. These two designs earlier earned Red Dot Design Award and iF Design Award recognition.