Getting a Grip Gets Better, Thanks to Goodyear and GE
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and General Electric – specifically, GE Advanced Materials, Silicones – teamed up for breakthrough technology in new auto tyres. A unique tyre, Goodyear’s Assurance featuring TripleTred Technology, is the result of this technology.
The TripleTred tyre possesses so much advanced technology that it goes beyond all-weather capability, to an area Goodyear calls “ANY weather conditions” performance. The tyre does this by incorporating three unique tread zones for superior traction in any kind of weather.
Scientists at GE’s Tarrytown, NY labs developed a coupling agent (liquid chemical) named NXT* silane, which is an essential ingredient of the high-tech rubber compounds in the TripleTred. “It sounds extremely high-tech, and it is,” said David Benko, Goodyear’s director of global materials R&D. “But, in effect, the recipe that we formulated with the assistance of GE Advanced Materials, Silicones enables us to mix together some advanced chemicals and technologies, which converts into a smoother manufacturing process.”
Designing tyre compounds is a complex exercise in science and physics. Much more is found in a tyre than rubber, steel and polyester. Other ingredients might include carbon black for filler, and many different varieties of chemicals, oils, pigments and waxes. Over the past 10 years, tyre manufacturers have been adding silica to the carbon black filler material for added traction and improved rolling resistance. The addition of silica translates into lower fuel consumption due to lower rolling resistance when the tyre meets the road. In the case of the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred tyre, NXT silane improves the rate and ease with which the silica mixes into rubber.
“That’s where some of our technology comes into play,” said GE’s Rick Cruse, research scientist. “We developed NXT silane to enhance silica dispersion. And, simultaneously, NXT silane provides coupling action with easy processing. Now, with NXT silane, silica compounds can be mixed hot, hard and fast in a single step, instead of long, slow, step-by-step mixing at low temperatures.”
For Goodyear, the new Assurance featuring TripleTred Technology is the culmination of decades of research into the design, engineering and physics of all-weather tire technology. An interlocking tread pattern creates an Ice Zone on the TripleTred, which translates into more gripping power on icy or snow-covered roads. A Dry Zone feature is enhanced by reinforced tyre shoulders for confident maneuvering around curves, potholes and unexpected road debris on dry pavement. A unique Water Zone consisting of deeply carved Aquachutes is a key to the new tyre’s wet handling performance. These Aquachutes propel water away from the tyre’s tread to assure more tyre contact with the road when the surface is rain-drenched.
“As we engineer our tyres to deliver improved all-around performance, no matter the weather conditions, we are challenged with making the many different elements work together. In the case of Assurance featuring TripleTred Technology, our work with GE Advanced Materials – Silicones helps to achieve that balance,” Benko said.