The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company is harvesting some unique “seeds” of innovation as it introduces a new tyre technology with support from the United Soybean Board (USB).
The first commercial use of a new soybean oil-based rubber compound is helping Goodyear enhance tyre performance in dry, wet and winter conditions. A Goodyear team of scientists and engineers created a tread compound, or formulation, using soybean oil, which is naturally derived, cost-effective, carbon-neutral and renewable.
“Goodyear’s legacy of innovation drives us to continue to apply new technology solutions, developing superior performing tyres that meet consumer demands,” said Eric Mizner, Goodyear’s director of global material science.
By employing soybean oil in tyres, Goodyear found a new way to help keep the rubber compound pliable in changing temperatures, a key performance achievement in maintaining and enhancing the vehicle’s grip on the road surface.
Goodyear’s tests have shown rubber made with soybean oil mixes more easily in the silica-reinforced compounds used in manufacturing certain tyres. This also improves manufacturing efficiency and reduces energy consumption.
Goodyear cooperated on the project with the USB, a group of farmer-directors who oversee the investments of a checkoff program on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. The USB provided some funding support for the development of Goodyear’s soybean oil application in tyres.
The commercialisation of soybean oil in tyres is the latest technology breakthrough by Goodyear. This builds on the company’s other recent innovations, such as the use of silica derived from rice husk ash. It is also another component Goodyear is using in certain consumer tyres, along with current and past uses of components such as carbon fiber, DuPontÔ Kevlar®, volcanic sand and more.
“Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady tyre is currently produced with soybean oil. We are initially applying this technology only in North American consumer tyres, and will decide what additional use may be appropriate”, commented Goodyear South Africa Marketing & Brand Manager, Tracy Maclear.
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