Tests find no free-standing nanotubes released from tire tread wear
Single wall carbon nanotubes, also known as graphene nanotubes, offer unique benefits in comparison to standard tire additives, such as silica and carbon black, leading to a growing number of projects for developing safer and more eco-friendly tires. Possible release of nanoparticles into the air was of interest for the tire industry, which is heavily focused on environmental aspects. OCSiAl, the world’s largest producer of single wall carbon nanotubes, took a lead in initiating wear simulation tests of a tire enhanced with nanotubes.
The test was performed by ARDL (Akron Rubber Development Laboratory), at a Calspan facility in Cleveland, OH. “We have introduced TUBALL nanotubes produced by OCSiAl into tread to check the probability of nanoparticles exposure, as this tire component experiences the main wear during the car’s motion. An independent laboratory captured any possible aerosol released and applied a specific quantification method relying on Raman spectroscopy for the detection of airborne particles. Only rubber particles with nanotubes embedded into the matrix were discovered. No free-standing TUBALL nanotubes were observed,” said Gunther Van Kerckhove, H&S Lead Manager atOCSiAl.
Single wall carbon nanotubes are currently the only market solution allowing the industry to achieve a long-awaited breakthrough in tires: improved durability and safety on the road and reduced energy consumption, leading to cost savings and lower CO2 emissions to the environment.