The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has begun using a next-generation silica to increase the fuel-efficiency of its tires. This new silica will be first used in the Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV tire, which is being launched this month in Latin American markets. Tires containing the silica also will be introduced in other regions within the next year.
For more than a decade, Goodyear researchers worked with PPG Industries to examine the effects of chemically treated silica on tire performance. The goal was to further improve rolling resistance without having a detrimental effect on traction in wet conditions. In Goodyear’s new EfficientGrip SUV tire, this next generation silica was used in a new tread compound and a new tread pattern to provide both improved rolling resistance and improved wet traction.
Silica is used as a reinforcing agent in tire tread compounds. Compared to carbon black, a traditional reinforcing agent for tires, silica reduces rolling resistance. Lower rolling resistance, in turn, improves a car’s fuel economy.
In addition, this new silica – marketed by PPG Industries as AGILON performance silica – has been shown to have processing advantages that also benefit the environment, Goodyear says. Since it is easier to mix into compounds, factories can consume less energy in the tire production process and lessen emissions.