What are tyres made of?

Wednesday 2nd March 2022

how old are my tyres

Have you ever wondered exactly what your tyres are made of? You may think there is a simple answer… rubber! However, you might be surprised to find out that your tyre is actually made of a lot of components, as well as a combination of both natural and synthetic rubbers. Read our useful blog on what tyres are made of

Where does rubber used in tyres come from?

Firstly, before we get into what materials tyres are made from, it’s good to understand where rubber initially comes from. Rubber is thought to originally come from Hevea Trees in Brazil and India - these are trees which need hot climate in order to thrive. However, for tyres, most tyres are made out of synthetic rubber which is made up out of a mixture of crude oil, polymers and tree sap.

What are tyres made out of?

In most cases, only 19% of the tyre is made out of natural rubber. The rest of the tyre is made up of:

  •  Synthetic polymers: these are also mixed in with the rubber to create the outer tyre. The type of polymers used are integral to the tyre design as it can affect the tyres traction, general reliance and rolling resistance.
  • Steel: both the wires, the beads and the alloys of the tyres are made of this metal. The steel is placed under the tread, and is used to enhance wear performance. It is also important for the handling of the tyre.
  • Fillers: the most common fillers are carbon black and silica - fillers are responsible for reinforcing the rubber. They improve tear and abrasion, and some silica fillers can even improve tyre resistance.
  •  Curing systems: sulphur and zinc are important components that transform rubber into a resistant material.
  •  Antioxidants and Antiozonants: are used as a sealant and to help further protect the tyres from environmental damage.
  •   Textiles: these are used to reinforce the tyre – the textiles could be made of different types of fabric, such as rayon cord, nylon cord and other materials.

Can tyres be made from any other materials?

Rubber is quite hard to mimic and there aren’t many tyre material alternatives on the market. This being said, modern technology is quickly developing, and manufacturers are always looking for ways to explore new rubber alternatives. There has been investigation into the Guayule trees in Mexico, which shows that these trees are able to produce a similar material without such specific conditions of the guava tree.

Bridgestone tires have also started developing the airless tyre – which is designed to: ‘support the weight of a vehicle, effectively eliminating the need to periodically refill the tyres with air.’ Meanwhile, Toyota tyre manufacturer has started using biosynthetic rubbers for other car parts, and this could be extended for tyres also. There seems to be many tyre rubber alternatives on the horizon!

Now that you are all clued up about how tyres are made, you may be wondering where you can find the right tyres for your car. Here at Formula One Autocentres, we have wide range of tyres that are suited for each make and model of car. Pop into your local Formula One Autocentre, or contact our team to find out more.

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