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I agree that higher tire pressure results in smaller surface area, but it's not clear to me that the tire itself does not support the car, skewing the result. So I'm not convinced this sanity check is sufficient. For example, as another commenter mentioned, run-flat tires can support the car on stiffness alone.





I agree, the sanity check is not sufficient. It confirms the concept that as pressure decreases, area increases, but is not sufficient to confirm a linear relationship. In the limit, the area clearly does not become infinite when pressure drops to 0.

For the case you suggested above, this is essentially how run-flat tires work. Of course, the sidewall of the tire isn't as stiff as the support ring, but they do provide some support.




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