Have you ever wondered what goes into making a tire and What’s Inside a Tire?
Or what’s in a tire? There is a whole lot more to a tire than just rubber and air.
A tire is a complex combination of components made from numerous ingredients.
Tire manufacturers are working continuously to replace non-renewable materials with renewable materials and reduce the overall weight of the tire.
We have previously covered the complex nature of the construction of a tire and its many parts but, what elements are tires made of?
Tire production is a multi-step process. Tires contain many rubber compounds and other materials because they are required to safely perform in the face of a wide range of demanding conditions.
What Are the Different Parts of a Tire?
Although rubber is the primary material used in tires, there are many others. Some tires are composed of as many as 200 different raw materials, combined with rubber compounds to create the various components of a tire’s construction.
They clamp firmly against the tire’s rim to ensure an airtight fit and keep the tire properly seated on the rim. They are large steel cords wound together to form a cable or ribbon-type configuration. The bundles are then formed into rings, and the rings are covered with rubber. Tire beads prevent the tire from sliding out of place when the wheel rolls.
Bead filler, a rubber compound, is incorporated into the bead configuration and extends into the sidewall. The density and stiffness of a tire’s bead filler help to determine a tire’s performance characteristics.
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The tire body consists of strips of cloth-like fabric that are covered with rubber. Body plies can be made of polyester, rayon, or nylon. Polyester is most commonly used. Body plies function as the structure of the tire and provide the strength to contain the inflation pressure. A passenger car tire may have as many as four plies in the body.
The inner liner (in the center of the tire diagram) is a rubber compound bonded to the inside of the cord body that retains air under pressure. This inner-liner layer has no cord reinforcing and is similar to an inner tube and used to retain the inflation pressure inside the tire.
The belt system is placed on top of the casing during the construction process. The primary function of belt plies is to provide strength and stability to the tire tread. They play a role in improving tire mileage, impact resistance, and traction. Steel is the most common belt material. Steel belts provide strength and stability to the tread area without adding weight to the tire.
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The area of a tire from the bead to the tread—the side of the tire—is called the sidewall. It forms a protective covering for the cord body and provides abrasion, scuff and weathering resistance.
Tread usually contains two rubber compounds: tread base and tread cap
The tread rubber compound and tread pattern provide grip and abrasion resistance contributing to traction and tread wear.
What’s Inside a Tire? & What Materials are used in Tires?
Over 200 ingredients go into a tire. They play vital roles in safety, fuel efficiency, performance and eco-friendliness. Tire material consists of the following elements, in varying quantities depending on use:
Natural and synthetic rubber (also known as a polymer) are the main components of a car tire. 19% of a tire is made from natural rubber. Natural rubber is made from a white latex liquid that oozes from certain plants when you cut them. Natural rubber provides specific performance characteristics to tires. It is perfect for tear and fatigue crack resistance.
Synthetic rubber is any artificial elastomer. The main synthetic rubber polymers used in tire manufacturing are butadiene rubber and styrene-butadiene rubber. These rubber polymers are used in combination with natural rubber. These polymers’ physical and chemical properties determine the overall tire performance, such as rolling resistance and wear and traction. Per the US Rubber Manufacturer’s Association, about 70 percent of all rubber used in tires is a synthetic rubber.
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Steel wire is used in the tire belts and beads and the plies for truck tires. An estimated 15% of the material in a tire is steel, mainly in a cord. The belts under the tread serve to improve wear performance and tire handling by stiffening the tire casing. Besides the beading wire, a Steel cord is often used to reinforce light truck tires in the sidewall area and occasionally in the cap of the tire as added protection against punctures through the tread.
Textiles in tires are various types of fabric cords that reinforce the tire. These are mainly fabrics: polyester cord, rayon cord, nylon cord, and aramid cord. While they serve as the primary reinforcing material in the tire casing, they also help the tire keep its shape in different road conditions, providing added endurance and performance characteristics to the tire.
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In general, fillers are added to the rubber. These fillers can be carbon black, silica, carbon or chalk. They bind the rubber and make it more resistant to wear, as rubber on its own can crumble, mainly due to breaking.
Antioxidants help to keep the rubber from breaking down due to the effect of temperature and oxygen exposure.
Antiozonants are used to impede the effects of exposure to ozone on the surface of the tire.
Curing systems shorten the vulcanization time and impact the length and number of crosslinks in the rubber matrix that forms during tire curing or vulcanization.
More about tire material
In addition to the main components of rubber, fillers and plasticizers, chemicals, such as Sulphur, as mentioned above, and antioxidants are also used in tires. These also affect driving behaviour. The development of a new rubber compound involves constantly balancing the materials. A complex process that varies from the tire to tire and the material used.