Tyres must last longer
For many years, the tyre industry has been searching for a new compromise between comfort, safety and rolling resistance. The reason: Europe wants to see significantly less particulate matter in the environment caused by tyre and road wear.
Tyre manufacturers such as Continental, Michelin, Goodyear and Bridgestone work together with their raw material suppliers on material combinations (compounds) that must ensure that tyres last longer. Tyre manufacturers are already promising a 30 per cent longer life. Reducing wear is, of course, good for the environment, because it reduces waste – not only from tyres at the end of their life, but also from the residue from their use into the environment.
On the other hand, tyre retailers are seeing a reduction in the potential number of tyres to be sold. This is in addition to the desire of governments and a growing number of companies to reduce the number of business kilometres by structurally embracing working from home. Sustainability is therefore an additional challenge for the tyre replacement market.
Wear and tear
After years of discussion and research, the transition to electric driving has also accelerated the development of more wear-resistant tyres. More and more electric cars on the road mean more tyre wear due to the greater traction of these vehicles. The EV as a tyre eater is not a good message at a time when sustainability is high on the agenda. Less wear and therefore a longer life are the challenges for tyre manufacturers, although this applies to all tyres, not just EVs.
The problem is clear: the friction between tyre and road surface that is necessary to achieve grip inevitably leads to wear of both tyre and road surface. This creates fine dust and larger particles that end up in the environment. These larger particles are a mixture of fragments from the tyre tread and pieces of the road surface, such as minerals and road dust. According to various studies, the ratio of tyre to road surface debris is about 50/50.
The most important factor when it comes to tyre and road surface wear is the tyre design, whereby next to the compound the tread has the greatest influence. In addition, the weight of the car, the speed driven and the design of the undercarriage (suspension) are important. In addition to the tyre, the quality of the road surface and the type of road (many bends or not) are also factors that play a role, as are weather conditions (high or low temperature). And let’s not forget the rider’s behaviour. A quiet driver will wear out his tyres less quickly than a ‘sporty’ driver. Tyre pressure is also a crucial factor.
All these factors add up to the so-called tyre tread abrasion rate, or the amount of material per unit distance that is lost from the tyre surface during contact with the road surface. And then you come to the tyre manufacturers who, with their new compounds, make the tyre wear less quickly. Under the name of Techsyn, a joint venture between Bridgestone, the Belgian Solvay and the Dutch-Saudi Arlanxeo, a compound has been developed that should make tyres extremely wear-resistant. Bridgestone recently announced that it would soon be presenting the first tyres that would last at least 30 per cent longer than its current products. Bridgestone has also developed a special compound for the Dutch car manufacturer Lightyear, which has as its most important characteristics a lower weight and of course a higher degree of wear resistance.
Source: After Sales Magazine