Tire compounds are a blend of materials combined to construct the tire. Harder compounds are used for larger vehicles that carry more weight, such as semi-trucks. Whereas, softer compounds are used in a standard vehicle tire. The materials used vary, but typically contain rubber (both natural and synthetic), as well as fabric, wire, carbon black, and chemical compounds. The tire has a body and a tread, the latter providing traction and the former containing compressed air.
You expect your tires to carry you thousands of miles. You want it to provide you with the same performance and safety on mile 1,000 as it does on mile one.
The Construction of the Tire
- Body Ply – this is the structure of your tire. It offers the strength necessary to contain the pressure of inflation. Additionally, it provides flexibility and strength.
- Belts – tire belts offer strength and stability to the tire tread
- Bead – the bead guarantees your tire fits to the wheel, it’s air-tight.
- Tread – the pattern and rubber compound of the tread combine to provide traction and grip as you hit the open road.
- Inner liner – like a bike has an inner tube, your car tire contains an inner liner to inflate with air.
- Sidewall – the sidewall is the rubber compound that covers the body plies. This protects the tire from curb and road damage.
Tire Compound Recipe
It’s a lot like a cake recipe. There are all different ingredients required to mix into the batter. The outside tread contributes to gas mileage and traction. The rubber inside the tire offers stability to the tread and adheres to the belt.
- Natural Rubber – this protects your tire from wear and tear, as well as resists cracking.
- Synthetic Rubber – these combine with natural rubber and contain butadiene and styrene-butadiene, both synthetic rubber polymers. Their properties determine how each component of the tire performs and also influence the overall performance of the tire. There is a third synthetic rubber used in tires, this one (halobutyl) is used in the inner liner and contributes to its ability to keep tires inflated.
- Steel – you will find steel wire in the beads and belts. The purpose of this is to stiffer the casing of the tire, which influences the handling and wear performance. The wire in the bead locks it to the wheel.
- Antioxidants – these prevent the tire from wearing and breaking down as a result of temperature.
- Fillers – fillers include silica and carbon black. These simply serve to reinforce the rubber. This improves abrasion, tear, and strength against stress.
- Antiozonants – these prevent the negative effects that come from surface exposure.
- Textile – there are a variety of fabrics (rayon, nylon, etc) used to reinforce tires. It’s all about stability and supporting the wheel’s ability to take the weight of the vehicle.
Zinc oxide and sulfur combine to cure the rubber. They transform the tire batter into a solid article. The processing time on tires varies, but a curing system such as this shortens the length of time this takes.
If you want to know more about how to protect your tires or get a tire check, get in touch!