#411: Steambeam

When my tyres lose pressure I find I’m strangely reluctant to root about in the oily grime of the local garage forecourt in attempts to get the airline to work (for which experience I may also find myself charged 20p).

Today’s invention is an alternative approach, which removes the need for all of that nonsense about tyre valves too.


When a tyre is fitted to a wheel, a small volume of water is placed inside the tyre. A low intensity microwave emitter placed in each wheel well then fires a beam through the tyre tread and is absorbed by the internal water, turning most of it to steam, which inflates the tyre.

Placing some fluorescein dye in the water provides the added benefit of easy leak tracing, should you happen to drive across the usual collection of nails and broken glass to be found in many public car parks.

This approach has the added feature that the tyres can be warmed quickly for better grip, even on frozen roads (and because the rate of diffusion of water vapour through rubber has got to be less than that of Nitrogen, the tyres will stay inflated longer).

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