Skip to Content

Chameleon Tire

New material changes colors to indicate potentially dangerous underinflation.

More than a quarter of all passenger vehicles on the road in the United States have one or more underinflated tires-a condition that can lead to tread separation and blowouts. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that up to 10,000 injuries could be prevented annually if all vehicles had systems that warned drivers of underinflation. Frank Kelley of the University of Akron in Ohio and Barry Rosenbaum of Omnova Solutions, a chemical company in Fairlawn, OH, have devised a simple solution: a rubber material that changes color from black to red when tire temperatures rise above 77 C (underinflated tires get much hotter than properly inflated tires). The special rubber contains a material that changes color in response to temperature; a strip of the rubber could be built into the sidewalls of tires, visible as a red ring when things get too hot. The researchers have formed a company called TCS Polymers and hope to sell the rubber to the tire industry in three to five years.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.

Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.

Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.