How does a self-inflating wheel work?

It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Proper air pressure in the wheels is very important for comfortable and, above all, safe driving. Are self-inflating wheels a solution that will translate into better car performance? How does this mechanism work? Let’s find out!

Why is it so important to maintain proper air pressure in tires?

Before we get to the principle of how a self-inflating wheel works, it’s worth saying a few words about why it’s important that there is always optimal air pressure in the wheels of our vehicles. First of all, a car whose wheel or wheels are not properly inflated can cause driving problems. The lack of pressure in one of the wheels is clearly felt when driving, when the car is “pulled” to one side. Driving such a vehicle always poses a risk of an accident. 

Secondly, poorly inflated wheels mean more drag on the car, and therefore more energy is needed to get the vehicle into motion, which, as you know, translates into higher travel costs. Third, the more fuel is burned, the more harmful compounds, such as carbon dioxide, are emitted into the atmosphere. Fourth is tire life. Tires that are properly inflated will last longer, and here again economic as well as environmental issues come back in favor of such a solution. 

Principle of operation of a self-inflating wheel

SIT (Self-Inflating Tire) technology ensures optimal air pressure in the tire automatically. Thanks to a properly integrated tire chamber, it is possible to inflate the tire automatically. The peristaltic chamber is located along its edge at the contact with the rim. At the beginning of the chamber there is an air inlet with a filter, through which air enters the chamber. As the wheel rotates, the chamber, under the pressure of the tire on the ground, closes and pushes the air accumulated in it towards the automatic pressure regulator. The regulator is located at its end. Its task is to let air inside the tire only if the pressure inside is below the optimal level. 

If the pressure inside the tire is adequate, the automatic regulator lets the air in further, causing air to circulate inside the peristaltic chamber. As can be seen from the above description, in order for the tire to be automatically inflated, the wheel must rotate, so it is not possible to automatically inflate the wheel if it is completely empty.

SIT technology – what else is worth knowing about it?

On average, it is estimated that monthly tire air loss is about 2-3%. SIT technology makes it possible to replenish these typical losses after driving about 1 kilometer of road, so very quickly. The automatic tire self-inflating system is relatively easy to implement in tire manufacturing processes, as it only requires making a chamber and installing an air pressure regulator. 

As a result, tires with this system are slightly more expensive than standard solutions. In the European market, we meet the obligation to produce cars with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). However, this system only monitors the state of tire pressure.

SIT technology is a fairly easy and inexpensive system to produce. Its use could translate into increased vehicle performance and driving safety. It may soon be an increasingly common solution.

main photo: B

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