Pneumatic tires, or tires that are inflated, are by far the most common tires used on passenger vehicles like yours. However, not all tires are filled with air. There are many other types of vehicles, construction equipment, for instance, that use solid tires. As you might have guessed, solid tires are very different from inflatable tires.
Construction of Solid Tires
Solid tires, which are also called airless tires, are manufactured using a few different methods. Solid tires can be manufactured on a frame or metal wheel structure which will then be mounted on a specific vehicle. Solid tires can also be made to fit on rims that are manufactured to support pneumatic tires.
Solid tires differ in two ways. The first is the rubber compounds they're made with, and the second is the purposes they're made for. Solid-tire manufacturing results in tires that are incredibly hard and durable, bearing a slick tread design. Solid tires are also pliable and capable of performance at high speeds. These tires can even possess modern tread design and capability.
Unlike the curing process of a pneumatic tire, solid tires are rolled in thin layers of rubber onto a metal frame mount and pressed through a hydraulic system. This solidifies the form and makes the rubber hold. These layers are added using a wheel. With every full rotation of a wheel turn, the process adds another layer. The thickness of these layers varies depending on the application of the tire.
Once the tire is properly sized, it will be put into a mold and heated, allowing the rubber to vulcanize. This mold will also serve as the instrument that puts the tread on the solid tire. For solid tires installed on rims that can accommodate pneumatic tires, a special hydraulic mounting press is required to put the tire on the wheel.
Applications of Solid Tires
Solid tires assist in a variety of applications. Most solid tires are used in industrial applications on large tractors and trucks that are prone to road and ground hazards. These machines are often used in construction zones where a variety of metals, scrap, nails, screws, and other hardware may frequently puncture tires on heavy, load-bearing vehicles. Recycling centers and landfill operations utilize solid tires to transport large masses of material and drive through many ground hazards.
Solid tires can be used on smaller equipment as well. Forklifts use solid tires for stability and the capability of transporting heavy loads. Even smaller applications include bike tires and lawnmower tires. Solid tires are also put on casters that are used in a number of different applications from furniture to cinematic camera dollies.
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