Ask any race driver to tell a good driver how important tires are. They will say that tires are at least 25% in the composition of a good car. But, although it is fundamental equipment for the good performance of the vehicle, we do not always know the tire well as users. With that in mind, Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, shares below ten curiosities about tire production and functionality.

Carbon black is responsible for the black color of the tire. In the past, tires were white.

Photo: Bridgestone / Disclosure

1. Why are tires made of rubber?

This raw material, from the rubber trees, withstands everyday wear, while offering a high level of adhesion, even when the floor is wet. Since 2015, Bridgestone has also been using alternative raw materials to develop tires based on guaiule, a shrub that grows in arid regions of Mexico and the southern United States.

2. Why are the tires black?

During manufacture, a special compound called carbon black is used which, in addition to contributing to the rubber’s resistance to wear, is responsible for the black color of the tire, as we know it today. It is worth remembering that the tires were once white – the natural color of rubber.

3. Why do the tires have different designs on the tread?

The grooves or grooves that the tread has are an important factor in ensuring the excellent performance of the tire. They are designed to improve traction, prevent slippage and drain water when driving on wet surfaces.

4. What are tires made of?

In the tire manufacturing process, the following components are mainly used. Oil: acts as a complement to add the mixture of compounds. Steel: forms part of the construction of the beads, which help to promote stability and rigidity to the tread, as well as to prevent punctures and damage. Antioxidant: protects the tire from aging by ozone, heat or excessive flexing. Sulfur: helps to bond the rubber molecules during the vulcanization process, contributing to the tire’s durability. Natural rubber: provides the tire with excellent tear resistance and low heat generation. Synthetic rubber: ensures better traction and good wear resistance. Some also have low heat generation. Carbon black: increases the wear resistance of rubber and protects the tire from ultraviolet rays. Polyester and rayon: provide elasticity to withstand heavy loads and bring comfort in driving, due to their high resistance to contact. Silica: improves performance on wet surfaces, decreases rolling resistance and, as a result, contributes to fuel efficiency

The grooves or grooves that the tread has are an important factor in ensuring the excellent performance of the tire.

Photo: Bridgestone / Disclosure

5. How should the tire specifications be read?

The tire size consists of a series of numbers that indicate its width in millimeters, followed by the height, the type of construction of the tire, whether radial or diagonal, and the diameter of the rim, in inches. For example: 195/60 R15 represents a 195mm wide, 60mm high, Radial (R) construction and 15 ”rim diameter.

6. How big is the tire area that touches the tread?

The tire is the only part of the vehicle that touches the ground. In the case of passenger cars and SUVs, this area is about one span.

7. What is the tire’s relationship with fuel consumption?

Using appropriate tires, in good condition and with the correct inflation pressure, reduces rolling resistance while driving, which translates into energy and therefore fuel savings. In case of misuse, fuel consumption increases, tire life is reduced and the probability of irregular wear is higher.

8. When did Bridgestone manufacture its first tire?

On April 9, 1930, developed by the tire division of the Japanese stocking company Tabi. This was almost a year before founder Shojiro Ishibashi split the division to create Bridgestone Tire Co. Ltd, on March 1, 1931.

9. How much does the biggest tire in the world measure?

The largest tire in the world, manufactured by Bridgestone in Japan, is 4.02 m high, 1.47 m wide and weighs 5.75 tonnes.

10. What is the future of tires?

Bridgestone continuously invests in innovation, developing solutions for mobility in several areas. An example is the tire that will be used by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on its mission to the Moon, or the airless technology tires, which avoid the dreaded flat tire.

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