Bridgestone develops 3D printing for adaptive winter tires

Bridgestone has developed new technologies for winter tires that allow them to change their properties and adapt to the current situation on the road. There are no mechanisms or electronics inside - it's all about innovative materials. The focus is on low temperature compounds, porous coating and 3D printed lamellas.

Compounds or elastomers with fillers solidify as the temperature decreases, but it is up to the engineers to decide which specific values ​​are involved. Modern Bridgestone tires use silica-based compounds that can be tuned to operate within a given temperature range. This allows you to maintain good grip on the road surface without changing the rolling resistance of the tire itself.

Another new addition to the Blizzak tire range has an outer layer with multiple microcells. Ice itself is not slippery; a thin film of liquid water on the surface makes it so. The micro-cells of the tire are so small that they are not visible to the eye, but they effectively absorb this water, which ensures reliable contact of the tire with the ice. The coating acts like a sponge, collecting and releasing excess water when needed.

For a long time, sipes on tires were flat, sometimes curved plates, which limited their function. Now, Bridgestone has adopted the technology of molds and 3D printing, which makes it possible to give the lamellas a complex shape and add dynamic properties. They flex, change shape when accelerating and decelerating, and provide extra grip on ice in winter conditions. And all this without reducing the life of the tire itself.