New studies reveal that Nynas’ tyre oils are not only better for the environment, they can often also deliver improved performance
Though pressure for safer, eco-friendly tyres is mounting on tyre companies due to tightening regulations as well as strong demand from consumers, fuel efficiency will continue to be at the heart of any breakthrough in the tyre industry. However, making a tyre that balances all the main parameters – fuel efficiency, lower rolling resistance and better grip – is perhaps the biggest challenge for any tyre company.
According to specialty naphthenic oils and bitumen products manufacturer Nynas, an optimal, balanced performance of tyrescan be achieved through the right materials in the rubber formulation.
“Currently the focus of the global tyre industry is on producing tyres that are both safer and more fuel-efficient,” says Dr Markus Hoffman, Technical Manager, Tyres/CMI, Nynas. “At the same time, Government regulations are limiting the amount of polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) in the raw materials due to health concerns.”
Though the content of oil in tyres compared to other ingredients is lower, the impact of it on the environment could be profound. Traditionally, Distilled Aromatic Extracts (DAE) have been used as a plasticiser to optimise the interaction between the raw materials. But new regulations are now making it mandatory to use low PAH alternatives, mainly heavy naphthenic and Naphthenic Black Oil (NBO), Treated Distillate Aromatic Extract (TDAE), Residual Aromatic Extracts (RAE) and Mildly Extracted Solvates (MES).
A few studies have already shown that the rubber compound made with NBO oil Nytex 4700 as the primary plasticiser has a lower rolling resistance compared with TDAE, RAE and DAE. Nynas has also investigated in greater depth how process and extender oils affect the rubber formulations. They compared their Nytex 4700 with four other commercially available process oils of varying viscosity: DAE, TDAE, TDAE, RAE and MES. The study evaluated each process oil in silica-filled rubber formulation, where performance was assessed in terms of properties such as tensile strength, tear strength, abrasion loss, wet grip and rolling resistance.
The Nynas study concludes that all five oils were fully compatible with SBR polymers. However, the Nynas product produced better results in all tests than DAE oil in terms of mechanical properties. “This means that low PAH oil is not only better for the environment, it can also often deliver improved performance,” adds Dr Hoffmann.
Lower rolling resistance
A rubber compound formulated with Nytex 4700 demonstrated a rolling resistance that was 25% lower than a compound formulated with DAE oil and 16% lower than a compound formulated with RAE oil. It also displayed the fastest cure rate, the best tensile strength and elongation at break, the highest tear strength and the lowest abrasion loss.
Nynas is the first international oil company to now have local storage in India for its range of safe oils. “We want to support our existing customers and improve our service and logistics capabilities while continuing to support new customer’s foray into safe oils. The response to Naphthenic safe oils has been very encouraging in recent times and the local availability of our range of safe oils will make it easier for companies to make the transition to using safe oils across their product categories especially passenger car, SUV and two-wheeler tyres where the drive for change is emerging from the automobile OEMs through the consumer,” says Arjun Lad, General Manager, Nynas India.