Icelandic winter tire takes US by storm

A tire model used widely in Iceland has inspired a man in America to develop a tire which eliminates the need for studs on snow tires, according to a report in the Star Gazette.

Jeff Barlow first heard of the idea from an Icelander named Fridrik. The tire has thousands of embedded silicium carbide granules evenly distributed throughout the tire’s tread. The silicium is extremely hard, almost as hard as diamonds.

The large quantity of the silicium in the tire allows new granules to emerge, even as the tire tread wears out. The granules are able to make firm contact with ice and snow, giving cars more traction on dangerous road conditions in the winter.

The Icelandic idea was taken up by Barlow’s uncle and is currently being marketed under the name of Green Diamond Tires. The tires are environmentally friendly because they reuse an older tire in the production of the silicium tires.

The new tires are not only good for the environment, they are also good for the roads. “Studs are noisy, and they hurt the roads,” Barlow said. “When a vehicle with studs stops at a stop sign, it puts grooves in the road and that’s dangerous because those grooves fill with water, then freeze.”