Nanotechnology offers advances on tyre quality, say US experts.
28 November 2006 � Tyres that last longer and offer greater grip on all road surfaces and weather conditions could soon become commercially viable as a result of developments in nanotechnology. By mixing nanoparticles of clay with plastics and traditional synthetic rubber, InMat, a New Jersey, USA, company, has developed a new, extremely tight surface covering.
One of the benefits of the technology is that it overcomes the permeability of traditional rubber. Clay nanoparticles, because of their size, dramatically reduce the rate at which oxygen can escape. InMat calculates that 20-30 microns of its butyl nanocomposite coatings can provide the same air barrier as 1mm of butyl rubber.
Harris A Goldberg, CEO of InMat, says this has several implications for the auto and other industries. �Using InMat coatings instead of some or all of a butyl inner liner will reduce the weight and rolling resistance of the tyres,� he said. �This will lead to better fuel economy, as well as cooler running and thus safer tires. In addition, the manufacturing costs of the tyres should be reduced. The cost reductions will clearly be available in truck tyres which use a lot more butyl rubber.�