July 21, 2006
Bridgestone develops technology to improve performance of winter tires in warm weather
Tokyo, Japan – Bridgestone Corporation has announced its success in the development of a technology that chemically bonds a polymer called high cis butadiene with silica at its molecular chain end. The rubber compound used in tires is a complex mixture of polymers; one of these, high cis butadiene rubber (cis BR) has outstanding low-temperature flexibility, abrasion resistance and flex fatigue. Silica, on the other hand, displays excellent performance in wet grip and reduces rolling resistance.
As a result, efforts have focused on combining these two materials, but there was a limitation due to poor affinity of cis BR with silica. Bridgestone has developed two new technologies to achieve this combination. The company says it will improve flexibility in cold conditions if used in tire tread, but will retain comparative stiffness, compared with compounds based on ordinary polymers in warm conditions. The company is currently applying the technology to its new studless tire for the Japanese market.