Why Are Tyres Black?
These days, you can find cars of any colour on the road, but why are tyres always black?
When cars were first invented, tyres where white, as the natural rubber from which car tyres are sourced from is white. White rubber car tyres date back to the late 1880s and were still used as late as the mid-1900s. However, it wasn’t a style choice that meant they fell out of favour.
As vehicles developed, it was soon apparent that the white tyres didn’t have the ability to adhere to the road properly, and they didn’t last very long. In order to combat this, manufacturers started adding soot to their tyre compounds which extended the car’s lifespan by conducting heat away from the parts of the tyre that get hot whilst driving – like the tyre belt and tread. This increased the tyre’s lifespan and road traction, but as a consequence, the colour of the rubber went from white to black.
Years later, further research into the durability of a tyre was done, and carbon black replaced the soot. Introducing this new compound to the rubber dramatically increased the tyre’s strength, durability and road safety.
Carbon black also goes into other products like plastics, belts, hoses, adhesives, inks and paints, but is most commonly used in tyre rubber. It was originally produced organically by charring materials like bone or wood.
These days carbon black goes through a manufacturing process, using gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons, like oil or coal. The carbon black chemical compound is great for conducting heat, especially away from the tyre’s tread, which get extremely hot during driving, this adds considerable life to the tyre and increases safety.
Carbon black also helps protect tyres from UV light damage, even when your vehicle is stationary.
Tyre compounds are constantly being updated and are manufactured for different road use and road conditions.
18 Oct 2019
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