UK firm develops temperature-sensitive tyre that changes colour
A Wiltshire-based rubber research and development specialist is working with Canadian Tire to develop a tyre that changes colour when winter tyres are needed. The retailer approached Artis, the firm created as a result of the reorganisation of Avon Rubber in 2007, and tasked the Melksham company to develop such a product. It has now produced a concept tyre featuring a sidewall that changes from white to a vivid blue at 7°C.
Development of the concept tyre was led by Artis commercial manager Dr. Joe Hallett. “Our team at Artis took a particular interest in this project as it presented an idea we believe no one had considered before Canadian Tire,” stated Dr. Hallett. “Canadian Tire is one of few leaders in delivering the message of winter driving safety. As a father of young children, I share their desire to communicate how important it is to use winter tyres. Through an extensive research and development process, we have created a concept that could help to change our thinking.”
The concept tyre was produced through the creation of a colour-changing rubber inspired by the cold-activated colour-change products already available on the market. The tyre uses a similar thermochromic technology in order to change colour.
Artis says the idea behind the concept tyre is to provide a visual cue for drivers who view winter tyres as ‘snow tyres’ and think they’re not required unless there is significant snowfall – despite a wealth of evidence showing the superior effectiveness of winter tyres when temperatures drop below a consistent 7°C. An in-house study commissioned by Canadian Tire this year indicates that 80 per cent of motorists in its home market are unaware that 7°C serves as the marker for swapping summer and winter tyres.
“With over 90 years of experience in Canadian winters, we understand the unique challenges that drivers face on winter roads across the country,” said Melissa Arbour, senior category business manager for Tires, Wheels and Accessories at Canadian Tire. “As with innovations like this concept tyre, we continually search for the most advanced winter driving products to provide Canadian drivers with peace of mind and help to make sure families reach their destinations safely.”