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Goodyear, PPG collaborate on new tire line

AKRON—Goodyear has begun using a “next-generation” silica, co-developed with the chemical concern PPG Industries Inc., in a limited range of tires that PPG claims can yield improvements in fuel efficiency, traction and treadwear of up to 10 percent.

Goodyear’s first application of the technology is in its EfficientGrip SUV tire, which is being launched this month throughout Latin America. Goodyear did not quantify the fuel efficiency gains it expects from the new tire line.

Goodyear said it has worked with PPG for more than a decade to determine the effects of chemically treated silica on tire performance. The goal was to reduce rolling resistance without producing a detrimental effect on traction in wet conditions.

Goodyear said it is using PPG’s Agilon performance silica in the EfficientGrip’s tread compound, which when combined with a new tread pattern yields reduced rolling resistance and improved wet traction.

“Goodyear is a valued partner with a long history of setting trends in new product development and the use of new technologies,” said Anup Jain, PPG vice president. “We look forward to supporting Goodyear in its tire advancement efforts with the use of Agilon performance silica.”

Goodyear said it plans to incorporate Agilon silica into further high-value-added tires in other regions in 2015.

When substituted for the traditional silica-silane combination in tire compounds, Agilon performance silica can improve vehicle fuel efficiency, tire traction and treadwear by as much as 5 to 10 percent, Jain said. Silica is used as a reinforcing agent in tire tread compounds in place of carbon black, a traditional reinforcing agent for tires.

“Our customers around the world are demanding more fuel-efficient tires, but they want us to minimize the typical trade-offs,” David Zanzig, director of global materials science for Goodyear, said in a statement.

“Our materials scientists worked in cross-functional teams and, together with tire design and construction engineers. They derived an integrated solution that optimizes performance. This new silica plays a critical role in satisfying our customers’ needs.”

Goodyear said Agilon also yields environmental benefits. Since it is easier to mix into compounds, factories consume less energy in the tire production process and lessen emissions.