Aircraft Tires and Tubes Classification
Aircraft tires are paramount to the functionality of an aircraft through bearing their weight, aiding with braking, absorbing shock from landings, and allowing for taxiing through the airstrip. Due to this, aircraft tires undergo meticulous maintenance, overhaul, and repair during their lifetime. They are also manufactured with high standards to endure the pressures they are subjected to. Aircraft tires may be tube-type or tubeless, and are further classified by factors such as type, ply rating, and whether they are bias ply tires or radials.
The type of tires are regulated and classified by the United States Tire and Rim Association, consisting of nine types, in which four are still in production today. Type I tires are an example that are mostly featured on older aircraft and are not an active design despite their continued production. They benefit aircraft that are fixed gear and utilize smooth profiles. Type III are another type of aircraft tire that benefit lighter aircraft and feature low pressure, allowing for cushion. Aircraft plies and their ply rating refers to the fabric layers that increase tire strength. The higher the ply rating, the more heavy of a load the tire can undertake.
Tube-type tires contain an inner tube in which the air of the tire is stored. With tube-type tires, the outer rubber is often designed to be tough and unmalleable, ensuring that its life expectancy remains long. Meanwhile, the tube inside is flexible and softer to allow for easy insertion. On the other hand, tubeless tires have an internal chamber that is completely airtight, allowing for strong wheels that do not rely on tubes for pressure.
Lastly, an aircraft tire may be either bias ply or a radial. Bias ply tires allow for the flexibility of the aircraft tire sidewall, as well as are plied for strength. These tires are the more traditional form. Radial tires are similar to bias ply tires, though the plies are laid perpendicular to the rotational direction of the tire. This allows for great loads to be beared by the tire, without risking deformation. While this type is not as common as bias ply, it is still seen on various modern aircraft.
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