Rubber alone does not have all the properties required in a good tire. Most tires made today are made out of rubber compounds made up of various chemicals mixed in with the rubber while it is still in liquid form. The chemicals used help give the tires the temperature resistance, strength and durability that they require.
Sulfur is a key component in tire manufacturing. Tires are made out of a product known as vulcanized rubber. The vulcanization process is what makes the tires hard and heat resistant. This works partly because of the mixture of sulfur into the rubber. This is one of the chemicals present in most types of tires, while others are only used when making specific tire types.
Some tires may be made up of as much as 30 percent carbon black. This is a very pure form of carbon that is added to the tire formulation in powdered form. It acts as a type of reinforcement inside the rubber of the tire, making it stronger. It helps the rubber not erode from friction which is critical for tires that are on the road all day. Carbon black also helps tires last longer without rotting from UV ray exposure.
Not all tires are made entirely from naturally occurring rubber. The biggest use for styrene-butadiene rubber, for example, is in the tire industry. Synthetic rubber has some advantages over natural rubber, because it is more pure and because it is very cost effective. Other forms of synthetic rubber are also used in the production of tires. The exact chemical formulation depends on the tire manufacturer, and the type of tires being made.
Silica is added to tires to reduce rolling resistance. This accomplishes a few things. When a tire generates less friction, it helps the tire last longer. This helps slow the process of tires going into landfills and the need for new tires. It also helps increase fuel economy, because less power is needed to push the car when it is met with less resistance. Another chemical called bis(triethoxysilylpropyl) tetrasulfide is used in conjunction with silica to make the silica bond to the rubber.
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