What ‘s in your tire?
Over 200 raw materials go into tire composition: natural rubber, synthetic rubber, carbon black, and oil are the main raw materials used in tire production. In this article you may discover how tires are made, all their components and how the combination of these ingredients and processes play a vital role to provide different features in terms of safety, fuel efficiency, performance and eco-friendliness.
Rubber is the main component used in manufacturing tires, (40% of the composition), and both natural and synthetic rubber are employed. Natural rubber comes from rubber trees grown in tropical countries such as Malaysia or Indonesia, while synthetic rubber is mainly produced in Europe and as a whole, the rubber compounds make up more than 80% of the overall weight of a tyre. Natural rubber gives tires special performance qualities such as high resilience and elasticity, resisting wear damages and cracks it is used in many parts of the tire, mainly used for truck and earthmover tire tread.
Synthetic rubber exhibits greater durability and longevity than natural rubber. These characteristics are mostly due to the material’s tolerance to chemical damage and deterioration, as well as its resistance to high and low temperatures, to ozone, to sunlight, and to weathering. When stressed, synthetic elastomers flex and then return to their original shape. This feature is highly useful in the production of high-grip tires and it is mostly used for passenger vehicles (car, van) and motorbike tires because it provides excellent grip.
Filler Substances and Plasticizers
Filler substances make up around a third of the total composition and the primary ingredient is carbon black. It is a fine and soft powder, which gives the tyres their black colour and increase their wear resistance. Indeed, this colour is highly good at preventing the tires from deformations and cracking by acting against UV radiation. Together with carbon black, Silica is one of the most important reinforcing fillers in the tire industry. Silica derives from sand and as a reinforcing filler, offers a unique combination of high tear strength, fracture toughness, and wear resistance, as well as low rolling resistance and excellent wet grip for ‘green’ tire tread applications.
Plasticizers such as oils and resins represent 6% of tire composition and make tires softer and more flexible which improves their traction.
Rubber compounds also contain chemicals for vulcanization (sulphur, zinc oxide…) with 6%, as well as different booster chemicals and anti-ageing agents with 2%. The earliest and most common vulcanizing agent used is Sulphur thanks to its reliability, flexibility and controllability of vulcanisation apart from its excellent dynamic properties. Indeed, this agent changes the condition of rubber from plastic to elastic, vulcanizing natural rubber compounds and converting natural rubber and other elastomers into cross-linked polymers.
All these raw materials are mixed together and combined according to the recipe to be done, heated to a temperature of around 120 degrees Celsius during the mixing process. In this scenario, the process of developing and adjusting recipes is a crucial aspect of the tyre development process where the mixture makes the difference and where the precise dosing of ingredients is extremely important.
With our technology, tire manufacturers can automatically manage raw materials at 360 degrees: according to their consumption Color Service can provide many solutions of storage with different capacities as well as according to the physical shape of the material, we offer the proper dispensing device able to guarantee the required accuracy and speed.