Stringent European market demands for higher quality and increased safety as well as environmental restrictions give rise to an urgent need for improved tyres, especially for high performance cars.
The goal of the project is the development of a physical and chemical model which line raw material characteristics to the viscoelastic and final tyre properties.
* - The interaction studies have led to a theoretical model of the reinforcement mechanism.
* - The carbon blacks have been produced with a non-conventional furnace process providing a new generation of 'inversion blacks', which increase the temperature dependence of the hysteresis curve.
* - The styrene-butadiene copolymers have been manufactured according to a modified polymerization process in solution.
* - With these new materials tires with improved properties have been built.
Meanwhile it has been shown by the carbon black producer that this technology can be applied to produce other grades of inversed carbon blacks. These materials have already been introduced to the marketplace.
This model will be used to explain and predict the macroscopical behaviour of rubber compounds and will serve as a tool to speed up new tyre development, reduce costs and bring high quality tyres to the market.
Such a model has to be based on the physical and chemical interactions of polymers and carbon blacks. The relevant parameters guiding these interaction mechanisms need to be evaluated by advanced testing techniques.
The application of tailor-made polymers and carbon blacks together with an optimised mixing process will allow the design and manufacture of a new tyre tread with a good balance of wet skid and rolling resistance at significantly improved abrasion.
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