Most commonly found in nature as quartz, silica is one of the world’s most abundant, durable and useful minerals. While predominantly used in glass production, industrial-grade silica in its finest form is also mixed with rubber to strengthen tyre treads and reduce rolling resistance. But although silica is by no stretch of the imagination in short supply, Goodyear is doubling its commitment to obtain this material from an alternative source.
Goodyear is an old hand at the space business, but it’s been decades since it has worked on anything that’s entered the ‘final frontier’. That’ll change next week with the expected launch of the SpaceX CRS-18 on 21 July. When it blasts off towards the International Space Station (ISS) it’ll carry a Goodyear experiment on board. Success will lead to better-performing tyres in future.
Evonik reports that it has developed a new silica that it says is particularly suitable for use in truck and bus (TBR) tyres. In contrast to passenger car tyres, TBR tyres use mainly natural rubber, which, in combination with silane, places special requirements on the silica. With Evonik’s latest silica/silane development, fuel savings could be as high 8 per cent, the company said, which cuts costs and is better for the environment.
At this year’s Tire Technology Expo, Evonik will present its new cradle to grave Life Cycle Assessment of the environmental impact resulting from tyre treads based on silica/silane and S-SBR in comparison to tyre treads based on carbon black and E-SBR rubber.
The acquisition of a new business will see Evonik Industries AG extend its silica activities beyond tyres and other industrial applications. Evonik has acquired the silica business of US-based firm J.M. Huber for $630 million, a deal it says will enable Evonik to “expand its position in North America and Asia in this profitable and resilient business.”
Solvay has commenced production of Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) at its new state-of-the-art plant in Gunsan, South Korea. The plant has an annual capacity of more than 80,000 tons and is producing Solvay’s most advanced grades of HDS – many of which are used in fuel efficient tyre compounds.
Solvay, Sylvaine Neveu, a researcher at the firm’s Research and Innovation entity within the group’s Global Business Unit Silica, has won the Irène Joliot-Curie 2016 award for work on energy saving tyre technology. She was honoured in the category “Woman, Research and Enterprise”, granted by the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research.
Fedil, the Luxembourg Business Federation, has presented Goodyear a 2015 Environmental Award for its work with rice husk ash silica. The ‘resource efficiency’ category award was presented by Fedil president Robert Dennewald and Camille Gira, Luxembourg’s state secretary for sustainable development and infrastructure. Romain Hansen, Goodyear’s global director of technology projects, accepted the award on behalf of the ‘Rice Husk Ash Silica’ development team.
Solvay has begun production of Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) at its new plant in Wloclawek, Poland. HDS production has been increases in order to address “strong and growing regional demand for energy saving tyres”, according to the company.
Global rice paddy production amounts to around 700 million tonnes each year, and some 20 per cent of this total paddy weight is made up of rice husk, which is separated in the rice milling process and has traditionally been discarded by burning (including to generate electricity) or by dumping in landfill. But in recent times new uses have been found for this former waste. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, for example, has tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years. The tyre maker has now reached a supply agreement with China’s Yihai Food and Oil Industry for silica derived from rice husk ash, and will begin manufacturing a tyre containing this silica at its Pulandian factory in China this year. The tyre will be sold in the Chinese domestic market.
The Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV range being launched in Latin American markets this month is the first tyre from Goodyear Tire & Rubber to contain what the tyre maker describes as a “next-generation silica” – a silica developed by PPG Industries and now marketed as Agilon performance silica. Tyres containing the silica will be introduced into other regions within the next year.
At an official ceremony attended by local dignitaries, Solvay today launched the construction of its Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) production plant in Gunsan, South Korea. The facility is being built to address growing demand in Asia for energy saving tyres, and to facilitate Solvay’s development of innovative HDS grades.
Solvay Silica has released details of its new highly dispersible silica (HDS), which it will bring to market under the Efficium brand name and as part of its Zeosil family of HDS products. The manufacturer reports that the reinforcing filler is currently being trialled and tested by “major tyre manufacturers,” and global demand following Efficium’s commercial launch will be met with production at three different sites.
Rice husk waste once headed for landfills is now helping The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company produce fuel-efficient tyres. Goodyear today announced it will utilise ash left over from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity as an environmentally friendly source of silica for use in its tyres.
Evonik Industries is building its first highly dispersible (precipitated) silica plant in South America. The company announced on 21 July that it will invest a “mid-double-digit million euro amount” in a facility located in Americana, within Brazil’s São Paulo state. No word has been given on the greenfield site’s anticipated output tonnage when it goes on stream in 2016 or when full capacity is reached. The silica produced will mainly be used in the production of low rolling resistance tyres, however Evonik says that by building the plant it will also cater for the needs of the growing regional business in attractive specialty segments in South America’s food, animal feed, and agricultural industries.