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Title:
WEB STRUCTURE FOR NON-PNEUMATIC TIRE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/139680
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A web structure for a non-pneumatic tire includes a first corrugated ring having a first plurality of peaks and a first plurality of valleys. The first corrugated ring is a pre-strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring. The web structure further includes a second corrugated ring having a second plurality of peaks and a second plurality of valleys. The second corrugated ring is a pre-strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring. The second plurality of valleys are affixed to the first plurality of peaks by welding or an adhesive.

Inventors:
ABDALLAH JR (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2019/067383
Publication Date:
July 02, 2020
Filing Date:
December 19, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS LLC (US)
International Classes:
B29D30/02; B29D30/00; B60C7/10
Foreign References:
US9573422B22017-02-21
US20170297372A12017-10-19
US20180015785A12018-01-18
US10086654B22018-10-02
US20170368775A12017-12-28
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOX, Shaun J. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method of making a non-pneumatic tire, the method comprising:

providing a first elongated sheet of polymeric material; corrugating the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to form a first plurality of peaks and a first plurality of valleys in the first elongated sheet of polymeric material;

bending the first elongated sheet of polymeric material into a first annular shape, thereby forming a first webbing ring;

providing a second elongated sheet of polymeric material;

corrugating the second elongated sheet of polymeric material to form a second plurality of peaks and a second plurality of valleys in the second elongated sheet of polymeric material;

bending the second elongated sheet of polymeric material into a second annular shape, thereby forming a second webbing ring;

affixing the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material;

providing an inner ring of polymeric material;

affixing the inner ring of polymeric material to the first plurality of valleys of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material;

providing an outer ring of polymeric material;

connecting the outer ring of polymeric material to the second elongated sheet of polymeric material;

providing tread rubber; and

affixing the tread rubber to the outer ring of polymeric material.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of connecting the outer ring of polymeric material to the second elongated sheet of polymeric material is a step of directly connecting the outer ring of polymeric material to the second elongated sheet of polymeric material and includes a step of affixing the outer ring of polymeric material to the second plurality of peaks of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of connecting the outer ring of polymeric material to the second elongated sheet of polymeric material is a step of indirectly connecting the outer ring of polymeric material to the second elongated sheet of polymeric material.

4. The method of claim 3, further comprising:

providing a third elongated sheet of polymeric material;

corrugating the third elongated sheet of polymeric material to form a third plurality of peaks and a third plurality of valleys in the third elongated sheet of polymeric material;

bending the third elongated sheet of polymeric material into a third annular shape, thereby forming a third webbing ring; and

affixing the second plurality of peaks of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material to the third plurality of valleys of the third elongated sheet of polymeric material.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising pre- straining the first elongated sheet of polymeric material and pre- straining the second elongated sheet of polymeric material.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein steps of providing a first elongated sheet of polymeric material and providing a second elongated sheet of polymeric material includes providing a single elongated sheet of polymeric material and cutting the single elongated sheet of polymeric material into the first elongated sheet of polymeric material and the second elongated sheet of polymeric material.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of cutting the single elongated sheet of polymeric material is performed after the step of corrugating the first elongated sheet of polymeric material. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of affixing the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material includes welding the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of affixing the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material includes applying an adhesive to at least one of the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material and the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material.

10. A web structure for a non-pneumatic tire, the web structure comprising:

a first corrugated ring having a first plurality of peaks and a first plurality of valleys, wherein the first corrugated ring is a pre- strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring; and

a second corrugated ring having a second plurality of peaks and a second plurality of valleys, wherein the second corrugated ring is a pre strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring, and wherein the second plurality of valleys are affixed to the first plurality of peaks by welding or an adhesive.

11. The web structure of claim 10, further comprising a third corrugated ring having a third plurality of peaks and a third plurality of valleys, wherein the third corrugated ring is a pre-strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring, and wherein the third plurality of valleys are affixed to the second plurality of peaks by welding or an adhesive.

12. The web structure of claim 10, further comprising an inner ring affixed to the first plurality of valleys through welding or an adhesive. 13. The web structure of claim 10, further comprising an outer ring indirectly connected to the second corrugated ring.

14. The web structure of claim 10, further comprising an outer ring affixed to the second plurality of peaks by welding or an adhesive.

15. The web structure of claim 10, wherein a height of the first plurality of peaks is substantially equal to a height of the first plurality of valleys, and wherein a height of the second plurality of peaks is substantially equal to a height of the second plurality of valleys.

Description:
WEB STRUCTURE FOR NON-PNEUMATIC TIRE

AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0001] The present disclosure relates to a web structure for a non-pneumatic tire, and a method of making the same. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a method of making a web structure by pre-forming elongated sheets into web layers.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Various tire constructions have been developed which enable a tire to ran in an uninflated or underinflated condition. Non-pneumatic tires do not require inflation, while“ran flat tires” may continue to operate after receiving a puncture and a complete or partial loss of pressurized air, for extended periods of time and at relatively high speeds. Non-pneumatic tires may include a plurality of spokes, a webbing, or other support structure that connects an inner ring to an outer ring.

[0003] The spokes or webbing may be made by a molding process. In some embodiments, the spokes or webbing are molded as a single, unitary piece. In other embodiments, multiple rings are molded and then axially joined to form the spoke or webbing structure. In still other embodiments, circular sectors are molded and then circumferentially joined to form the spoke or webbing structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] In one embodiment, a method of making a non-pneumatic tire includes providing a first elongated sheet of polymeric material and corrugating the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to form a first plurality of peaks and a first plurality of valleys. The method further includes bending the first elongated sheet of polymeric material into a first annular shape, thereby forming a first webbing ring. The method also includes providing a second elongated sheet of polymeric material and corrugating the second elongated sheet of polymeric material to form a second plurality of peaks and a second plurality of valleys. The method further includes bending the second elongated sheet of polymeric material into a second annular shape, thereby forming a second webbing ring, and affixing the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material. The method also includes providing an inner ring of polymeric material and affixing the inner ring of polymeric material to the first plurality of valleys of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material. The method further includes providing an outer ring of polymeric material and connecting the outer ring of polymeric material to the second elongated sheet of polymeric material. The method also includes providing tread rubber and affixing the tread rubber to the outer ring of polymeric material.

[0005] In another embodiment, a web structure for a non-pneumatic tire includes a first corrugated ring having a first plurality of peaks and a first plurality of valleys. The first corrugated ring is a pre-strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring. The web structure further includes a second corrugated ring having a second plurality of peaks and a second plurality of valleys. The second corrugated ring is a pre-strained, thermoplastic elastomer resin ring. The second plurality of valleys are affixed to the first plurality of peaks by welding or an adhesive.

[0006] In yet another embodiment, a method of making a web structure for a non-pneumatic tire includes providing a first elongated sheet of polymeric material having a first length in a longitudinal direction, and a first width in a lateral direction. The first length is greater than the first width. The method further includes forming a first plurality of peaks and a first plurality of valleys in the first elongated sheet of polymeric material. The method also includes bending the first elongated sheet of polymeric material into a first annular shape, thereby forming a first webbing ring. The method further includes providing a second elongated sheet of polymeric material having a second length in a longitudinal direction, and a second width in a lateral direction. The second length is greater than the second width, the second length is greater than the first length, and the second width is equal to the first width. The method also includes forming a second plurality of peaks and a second plurality of valleys in the second elongated sheet of polymeric material and bending the second elongated sheet of polymeric material into a second annular shape, thereby forming a second webbing ring. The method further includes affixing the first plurality of peaks of the first elongated sheet of polymeric material to the second plurality of valleys of the second elongated sheet of polymeric material, thereby forming a first web assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0007] In the accompanying drawings, structures are illustrated that, together with the detailed description provided below, describe exemplary embodiments of the claimed invention. Like elements are identified with the same reference numerals. It should be understood that elements shown as a single component may be replaced with multiple components, and elements shown as multiple components may be replaced with a single component. The drawings are not to scale and the proportion of certain elements may be exaggerated for the purpose of illustration.

[0008] Figure 1 is a front view of an undeformed non-pneumatic tire;

[0009] Figure 2 is a front view of the non-pneumatic tire of Figure 1 being deformed when subjected to a load;

[0010] Figure 3 is a front view of another embodiment of an undeformed non pneumatic tire;

[0011] Figure 4A is a schematic drawing illustrating a perspective view of one embodiment of a sheet of polymeric material;

[0012] Figure 4B is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of the sheet of polymeric material;

[0013] Figure 4C is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of the sheet of polymeric material having a plurality of peaks and valleys formed therein;

[0014] Figure 5 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a webbing ring having a plurality of peaks and valleys formed therein;

[0015] Figure 6 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a first webbing ring attached to a second webbing ring; [0016] Figure 7 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a first webbing ring attached to a second webbing ring, which is attached to a third webbing ring;

[0017] Figure 8 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a webbing assembly; and

[0018] Figure 9 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a non-pneumatic tire.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0019] Figures 1 and 2 illustrate one embodiment of a non-pneumatic tire 10. The non-pneumatic tire 10 is merely an exemplary illustration and is not intended to be limiting. In the illustrated embodiment, the non-pneumatic tire 10 includes a generally annular inner ring 20 that engages a rim (not shown) to which the tire 10 is mounted. The generally annular inner ring 20 has an internal surface 23 and an external surface 24 and can be made of cross-linked or uncross-linked polymers. In this disclosure, the term“polymer” means cross-linked or uncross-linked polymers.

[0020] The non-pneumatic tire 10 further includes a generally annular outer ring 30 surrounding an interconnected web 40, which is a support structure connected to the generally annular inner ring 20. In alternative embodiments, a plurality of spokes or other support structure connects the inner ring to the outer ring. The outer ring 30 can be configured to deform in an area 48 around and including a footprint region 32 (see Figure 2), which decreases vibration and increases ride comfort.

[0021] In one embodiment, the generally annular inner ring 20 and the generally annular outer ring 30 are made of the same material as interconnected web 40. As shown in Figure 1, the generally annular outer ring 30 can have a radially external surface 34 to which a tread carrying layer 70 is attached. Attachment can be done adhesively or using other methods commonly available in the art.

[0022] In the illustrated embodiment, the interconnected web 40 has at least two radially adjacent layers 56, 58 of web elements 42 that define a plurality of generally polygonal openings 50. In other embodiments (not shown), other web configurations may be employed. In another embodiment (not shown), spokes or other support structure may be employed instead of a web.

[0023] Figure 3 illustrates a front view of another embodiment of a tire 100 having a generally annular inner ring 110, a generally annular outer ring 120, and support structure in the form of a flexible, interconnected web extending between the inner ring 110 and the outer ring 120. The flexible, interconnected web is formed by a plurality of web elements 130 that define polygonal openings. In this particular embodiment, the web elements 130 form a plurality of hexagonal and substantially trapezoidal shapes, including an outer series of alternating hexagonal and trapezoidal opening and an inner series of alternating hexagonal and trapezoidal openings. It should be understood that the geometries shown in Figures 1-3 are merely exemplary and that any geometries may be employed. Similarly, spokes or other support structure may be employed instead of a webbing.

[0024] Figure 4A is a schematic drawing illustrating a perspective view of one embodiment of a sheet 200 of polymeric material. The sheet 200 has a first length Lr in a longitudinal direction, and a first width Wr in a lateral direction. The first length Lr is greater than the first width W2. Thus, the sheet 200 may be referred to as an elongated sheet.

[0025] In one embodiment, the sheet 200 is a copolyester. In one specific embodiment, the sheet 200 is a thermoplastic elastomer resin. An exemplary thermoplastic elastomer resin is commercially sold under the brand name HYTREL by DUPONT. However, it should be understood that any thermoplastic elastomer resin may be employed. Thermoplastic elastomer resins exhibits desirable resilience, heat and chemical resistance, strength, and durability. However, other polymeric materials may be selected if different properties are desired.

[0026] In one embodiment, the sheet 200 is a pre- strained sheet of elastomeric material. The sheet 200 may be strained in the longitudinal direction. Straining the sheet 200 in the longitudinal direction may increase the length, while reducing the thickness of the sheet. The thinner sheet would thus have less weight per unit of length than it had prior to being pre-strained. Such a pre-straining process may have little or no effect on the strength of the material. Thus, in certain applications, a pre-strained sheet can be employed as a thinner, lighter weight alternative to an unstrained sheet, while still meeting pre-determined strength and stress requirements.

[0027] The sheet 200 may be constructed of a polymeric material having both a semi-crystalline (/. <? ., rigid) and amorphous (/. <? ., flexible) makeup. If polymer chains contain both flexible and rigid segments, those segments can be rearranged with the application of external strains or stresses. The strains or stresses may be applied through tension or compression. Such chain rearrangement may cause a material property change resulting from the change of the network of polymers, rather than from a change of a single molecule. More specifically, the material property change may result from the alignment of the crystalline or rigid chains in the material. Such material property changes may be irreversible, or may only be reversible with the application of heat. In such embodiments, pre-straining may be used to alter the material property of the sheet 200 in a desirable manner.

[0028] Figure 4B is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of the sheet 200 of polymeric material. While the sheet 200 is depicted as a single, flat sheet, it may be provided in a roll of material that is cut to the desired size. Figure 4C is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of the sheet 200 of polymeric material after a shaping process. The sheet 200 of polymeric material is shaped to form a first plurality of peaks 210 and a first plurality of valleys 220. In the illustrated embodiment, three peaks 210 and three valleys 220 are shown, with each peak having the same height and the same geometry formed by defined angles. The geometry may be described as an open trapezoid. In other embodiments, any number of peaks and valleys may be employed. The peaks and valleys may be curved or rounded, or have any geometric shape. Additionally, the peaks and valleys may vary in height.

[0029] In the illustrated embodiment, the first plurality of peaks 210 and the first plurality of valleys 220 extend in the lateral direction. In an alternative embodiment, the first plurality of peaks and the first plurality of valleys may extend in the longitudinal direction. In another alternative embodiment, the first plurality of valleys may extend at an acute angle with respect to the longitudinal direction.

[0030] In one embodiment, peaks and valleys are formed in the sheet through a corrugation process. In other words, the peaks and valleys may be formed by shaped rollers. Thus, the sheet may be referred to as a corrugated sheet. However, the peaks and valleys may be formed through other bending or forming process, such as stamping or press forming.

[0031] The sheet 200 may be pre-strained during the process of forming peaks and valleys. Such pre-straining may be performed instead of, or in addition to, any prior pre-straining process.

[0032] In one embodiment, the process of forming peaks and valleys is performed on a discrete sheet of material. In an alternative embodiment, the process of forming peaks and valleys is performed on a material that is later cut into discrete sheets. In such an embodiment, the material may be provided as a roll of material.

[0033] After the peaks 210 and valleys 220 are formed, the sheet 200 of polymeric material is bent into a first annular shape, thereby forming a first webbing ring 300. Figure 5 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a first webbing ring 300 having a plurality of peaks 310 and valleys 320. It should be understood that the shape and size of the peaks and valleys may vary in the same ways discussed above with respect to Figure 4C.

[0034] In one embodiment, the first webbing ring 300 is formed from a single sheet 200 of material. After the single sheet 200 is bent into an annular shape, the ends of the sheet are attached to each other. The ends may be attached with an adhesive or by a chemical bonding process. Alternatively, the ends may be attached by welding or brazing. The ends may also be attached through mechanical means, such as by forming a first end into a hook and a second end into a loop, or by using rivets, staples, or other mechanical fastening means.

[0035] In an alternative embodiment, the first webbing ring 300 is formed by a plurality of sheets. Each sheet may be bent into a partial annular shape, and a plurality of bent sheets are joined in a circumferential direction to form the first webbing ring 300. In such an embodiment, the ends may be attached to each other in the same manners described above.

[0036] After the first webbing ring 300 is formed, a second webbing ring 400 is formed and attached to the first webbing ring 300. Figure 6 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a first webbing ring 300 attached to a second webbing ring 400. The rings are spaced apart for illustrative purposes. In the illustrated embodiment, the second webbing ring 400 has a larger diameter than the first webbing ring 300 and is therefore attached to the outside of the first webbing ring. However, the second webbing ring may have a smaller diameter than the first webbing ring 300, and may be attached to the inside of the first webbing ring.

[0037] In the illustrated embodiment, the second webbing ring 400 has a second plurality of peaks 410 and a second plurality of valleys 420. The number and shapes of the second plurality of peaks 410 and second plurality of valleys 420 correspond to the number and shapes of the first plurality of peaks 310 and first plurality of valleys 320, such that the first plurality of peaks 310 can be attached to the second plurality of valleys 420. The first plurality of peaks 310 and the second plurality of valleys 420 may be attached with an adhesive or by a chemical bonding process. Alternatively, the peaks and valleys may be attached by welding or brazing. The peaks and valleys may also be attached with rivets, staples, or other mechanical fastening means. In such embodiments, the first plurality of peaks 310 are directly connected to the second plurality of valleys 420.

[0038] In one embodiment, the second webbing ring 400 is constructed of the same material as the first webbing ring 300. The material may be pre-strained, in the same manner described above. In such an embodiment, a second elongated sheet of polymeric material is provided, and a second plurality of peaks and valleys are formed therein. The second sheet may have a greater length than the first sheet, and the same width as the first sheet. The first and second sheets may be provided as separate, discrete sheets, or they may be cut from a single elongated sheet. In such an embodiment, the first and second sheets may be cut before or after the peaks and valleys are formed. [0039] In one embodiment, a height of the second plurality of peaks 410 is substantially equal to a height of the second plurality of valleys 420. In an alternative embodiment, the heights of the peaks and valleys may vary. After the second sheet is provided and the peaks and valleys are formed, the second sheet, or a plurality of second sheets are then formed into an annular ring shape.

[0040] In an alternative embodiment, the second webbing ring 400 is constructed of a different material from the first webbing ring 300. In another alternative embodiment, the first webbing ring 300 and the second webbing ring 400 are constructed of the same material, but only one of the webbing rings is pre strained. The webbing rings may also be pre-strained by different amounts. The second webbing ring 400 may also have peaks and valleys of different shapes and sizes than those of the first webbing ring. In one particular embodiment, the second webbing ring does not have peaks or valleys at all, but is a smooth ring.

[0041] After the first webbing ring 300 is connected to the second webbing ring 400, a third webbing ring 500 is formed and attached to the second webbing ring 400. Figure 7 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a first webbing ring 300 attached to a second webbing ring 400, which in turn is attached to a third webbing ring 500. The rings are spaced apart for illustrative purposes. In the illustrated embodiment, the third webbing ring 500 has a larger diameter than the second webbing ring 400 and is therefore attached to the outside of the second webbing ring. However, the third webbing ring may instead have a smaller diameter than the first webbing ring 300, and may be attached to the inside of the first webbing ring.

[0042] In the illustrated embodiment, the third webbing ring 500 has a third plurality of peaks 510 and a third plurality of valleys 520. The number and shapes of the third plurality of peaks 510 and third plurality of valleys 520 correspond to the number and shapes of the second plurality of peaks 410 and second plurality of valleys 420, such that the second plurality of peaks 410 can be attached to the third plurality of valleys 520. The second plurality of peaks 410 and the third plurality of valleys 520 may be attached with an adhesive or by a chemical bonding process. Alternatively, the peaks and valleys may be attached by welding or brazing. The peaks and valleys may also be attached with rivets, staples, or other mechanical fastening means. In such embodiments, the second plurality of peaks 410 are directly connected to the third plurality of valleys 520. The first plurality of peaks 310 may be described as being indirectly connected to the third plurality of valleys

520.

[0043] In one embodiment, the third webbing ring 500 is constructed of the same material as the first webbing ring 300 and the second webbing ring 400. The material may be pre-strained, in the same manner described above. In such an embodiment, a third elongated sheet of polymeric material is provided, and a third plurality of peaks and valleys are formed therein. The third sheet may have a greater length than the first sheet and the second sheet, and the same width as the first sheet and the second sheet. The first, second, and third sheets may be provided as separate, discrete sheets, or they may be cut from a single elongated sheet. In such an embodiment, the first, second, and third sheets may be cut before or after the peaks and valleys are formed.

[0044] In one embodiment, a height of the third plurality of peaks 510 is substantially equal to a height of the third plurality of valleys 520. In an alternative embodiment, the heights of the peaks and valleys may vary. After the third sheet is provided and the peaks and valleys are formed, the third sheet, or a plurality of third sheets are then formed into an annular ring shape.

[0045] In an alternative embodiment, the third webbing ring 500 is constructed of a different material from at least one of the first webbing ring 300 and the second webbing ring 400. In another alternative embodiment, the first webbing ring 300, the second webbing ring 400, and the third webbing ring 500 are constructed of the same material, but only one or two of the webbing rings is pre-strained. The webbing rings may also be pre-strained by different amounts. The third webbing ring 500 may also have peaks and valleys of different shapes and sizes than those of the second webbing ring. In one particular embodiment, the third webbing ring does not have peaks or valleys at all, but is a smooth ring.

[0046] After a desired number of webbing rings with peaks and valleys are connected to each other, an inner ring is attached to the innermost webbing ring and an outer ring is attached to the outermost webbing ring. Figure 8 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of such a webbing assembly 600. In this embodiment, the webbing assembly includes the first webbing ring 300, the second webbing ring 400, the third webbing ring 500, an inner ring 610, and an outer ring 620. The first plurality of valleys 320 may be attached to the inner ring 610 with an adhesive or by a chemical bonding process. Alternatively, the first plurality of valleys 320 may be attached to the inner ring 610 by welding or brazing. The first plurality of valleys 320 may also be attached to the inner ring 610 with rivets, staples, or other mechanical fastening means.

[0047] Likewise, the third plurality of peaks 510 may be attached to the outer ring 620 with an adhesive or by a chemical bonding process. Alternatively, the third plurality of peaks 510 may be attached to the outer ring 620 by welding or brazing. The third plurality of peaks 510 may also be attached to the outer ring 620 with rivets, staples, or other mechanical fastening means.

[0048] In the illustrated embodiment, the inner ring 610 is a smooth inner ring configured to be mounted to a hub. In alternative embodiments, the inner ring may have geometry configured to engage corresponding geometry of a hub. In another alternative embodiment, the first plurality of valleys 320 may be directly attached to a hub, through one of the attachment methods described above.

[0049] In the illustrated embodiment, the outer ring 620 is a smooth outer ring configured to receive tread rubber. In alternative embodiments, the outer ring may have geometry configured to engage corresponding geometry of a strip of tread rubber. In another alternative embodiment, the third plurality of peaks 510 may be directly attached to a strip of tread rubber.

[0050] The inner ring 610 and the outer ring 620 may be constructed of polymeric material. In one embodiment, the inner ring 610 and the outer ring 620 are constructed of the same material as the first webbing ring 300, the second webbing ring 400, and the third webbing ring 500. The material of the inner ring 610 and outer ring 620 may be pre-strained, in the same manner described above.

[0051] In an alternative embodiment, at least one of the inner ring 610 and the outer ring 620 is constructed of a different material from at least one of the first webbing ring 300, the second webbing ring 400, and the third webbing ring 500. For example, one or both of the inner ring 610 and the outer ring 620 may be constructed of metal. In another alternative embodiment, the inner ring 610, the outer ring 620, the first webbing ring 300, the second webbing ring 400, and the third webbing ring 500 are constructed of the same material, but only some of these elements are pre-strained. The elements may also be pre-strained by different amounts.

[0052] While Figure 8 illustrates a webbing structure 600 with an inner ring 610, an outer ring 620 and three webbing rings 300, 400, and 500, it should be understood that any number of these elements may be employed to form a webbing structure. In some instances, it may be desirable to construct a webbing structure with only one or two webbing rings. In other instances, it may be desirable to construct a webbing ring with four or more webbing rings.

[0053] It should also be understood that while an exemplary process for building the webbing structure 600 has been described herein, these steps may be performed in any order. Additionally, the webbing structure may be built by building a plurality of web sectors using the above described process, then attaching those web sectors circumferentially to form an annular web structure. Similarly, the webbing structure may be built by building a plurality of web structures and then affixing the webbing structures in an axial direction.

[0054] After the webbing structure is built, a non-pneumatic tire may be completed by providing tread rubber and affixing the tread rubber to the outer ring of polymeric material. Figure 9 is a schematic drawing illustrating a front view of one embodiment of a non-pneumatic tire 700. In the illustrated embodiment, the non-pneumatic tire 700 includes first, second, and third webbing rings 300, 400, 500, inner ring 610, and outer ring (not seen in this view). Tread rubber 710 is affixed to the outer ring. The tread rubber may be affixed with adhesive or a chemical bonding processing. The affixing may include an application of heat or pressure. [0055] The tread rubber may have tread elements formed therein, such as ribs, blocks, lugs, grooves, sipes, and other tread elements. The tread rubber may also include internal structures, such as a shear band.

[0056] To the extent that the term“includes” or“including” is used in the specification or the claims, it is intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term“comprising” as that term is interpreted when employed as a transitional word in a claim. Furthermore, to the extent that the term“or” is employed (e.g., A or B) it is intended to mean“A or B or both.” When the applicants intend to indicate “only A or B but not both” then the term“only A or B but not both” will be employed. Thus, use of the term“or” herein is the inclusive, and not the exclusive use. See, Bryan A. Gamer, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage 624 (2d. Ed. 1995). Also, to the extent that the terms“in” or“into” are used in the specification or the claims, it is intended to additionally mean“on” or“onto.” Furthermore, to the extent the term“connect” is used in the specification or claims, it is intended to mean not only“directly connected to,” but also“indirectly connected to” such as connected through another component or components.

[0057] While the present application has been illustrated by the description of embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicants to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the application, in its broader aspects, is not limited to the specific details, the representative apparatus and method, and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of the applicant’s general inventive concept.