Soybean oil improves tread life by 10%

Soybean oil in tyres can potentially increase tread life by 10%.

Researchers at Goodyear Tyre & Rubber’s Innovation Centre ran some tests and discovered that soybean oil also helps reduce the tyremaker’s consumption of petroleum-based oil by as much as 7 gallons each year.

Additional testing at Goodyear’s tyre plant in Oklahoma, showed improved mixing capabilities in the manufacturing process. The company found that rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica used in building tyres. This can improve plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Goodyear is committed to caring for the environment and communities, and use of soybean oil is proving to be another way to accomplish this goal,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s chief technical officer.

“Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment.” Prototype tires built in Lawton will be tested at Goodyear’s Proving Grounds in San Angelo, TX, in the coming months. If indicators remain positive, Goodyear expects consumers will be able to purchase tires made with soybean oil as early as 2015.

The United Soybean Board (USB) is helping fund the Goodyear project with a grant of $500,000 over two years. Goodyear will display a tire made with soybean oil August 6-7 at Ford Motor’s research center in Dearborn, MI, as part of an event sponsored by the USB.