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How is a tire constructed?

   

Tire Construction: 

Although rubber is the main material used for making tires there are a number of other materials used as well. These materials are combined with rubber compounds in the different components that make up the tire's construction.

 Rubber Compounding:

  • Rubber compounding is like mixing a cake recipe.

  • Different ingredients are mixed together to produce compounds with specific characteristics.

Example:

  • Outside tread compound provides traction and mileage.

  • Rubber located inside the tire adheres to the belt system and helps provide stability to the tread area.

  • Rubber compounds may also differ due to the type of other materials used in the tire.

Construction Components:

  • Construction materials used by each tire manufacturer are chosen with their own technology in mind.

  • Each component of a tire is designed to provide benefits specifically related to its function, while working together with all other components.

Example:

  • The belt system's main function is to provide stability to the tread area of the tire, which contributes to wear, handling and traction.

  • The belt system must also work in unison with the tire's sidewall and tread to achieve traction and cornering capabilities.

  • Tire components are assembled like a puzzle and molded together in the curing process.

  • This process causes all of the tire components and rubber compounds to adhere to their surrounding components, resulting in a singular product.

Tire Casing:

  • The tire casing is the body of the tire.

  • Most passenger tire casings are one or two body plies.

  • The tire casing incorporates fabric of polyester, nylon or rayon cords within the casing rubber compound. These cords add strength to the casing rubber.

  • Weight is an important factor in virtually all tire components. The heavier a tire is, the higher the potential for building up heat during operating conditions. An excess build up of heat in a tire eventually causes the rubber compounds to break down.

  • Polyester is the most common casing fabric used and provides: Good Rubber Adhesion, Excellent strength, Good Ride Characteristics

  • Polyester provides these features at a relatively low weight, while exhibiting heat dissipation characteristics.

  • Other fabric materials used in the tire casing include nylon and rayon, which exhibit benefits similar to polyester.

  • Most passenger tires manufactured today are radials. Prior to radial construction, bias and bias belted construction was used.

The Belt System:

  • The belt system is placed on top of the casing in the construction process.

  • The belt system's main function is to provide stability to the tread area of the tire, which contributes to wear, handling and traction.

  • The most common belt material used is steel. Steel belts provide strength and stability to the tread area without adding a lot of weight to the tire.

  • Usually two plies of steel cord placed at a bias angle make up the belt system.

  • The most common belt configuration is two plies of steel cord stacked, one on top of the other.

The Tread:

  • The tread slab is placed on top of the belt system in the manufacturing process.

  • The tread usually contains two rubber compounds:

    • The tread base compound adheres to the belt system when the tire is cured, is cooler running improving durability and helps stabilize the under tread area of the tire.

    • The tread cap is typically made with an abrasion resistant, higher grip rubber compound, which works  with the tread base and tread design to provide traction and mileage.

    • The tire's tread design is molded into the tread cap rubber during the curing process. 

The Sidewall:

  • A special rubber compound is used in the sidewall of the tire, which adds flexibility and weathering resistance.

  • Some tires, such as higher end performance tires, may also incorporate steel and/or nylon inserts to provide quicker steering response.

The Inner Liner: 

A rubber compound is used as an air seal inside the tire. This inner liner layer has no cord reinforcing and serves a similar function as an inner tube

 The Bead:

  • Tire bead bundles secure the tire to the wheel. They are large monofilament steel cords that are wound together to form a cable or ribbon-type configuration.

  • The casing plies are looped around the bead bundles holding them in place.

  • Bead filler, a rubber compound, is incorporated within the bead configuration and extends up into the sidewall area.

  • The rubber compound used on the outside bead area is usually a hard, durable compound that withstands the rigors of mounting and chafing.

Passenger car tires vs. Light truck tire construction:

  • Differences between passenger and light truck construction are due to the different uses and operating conditions of light trucks versus automobiles.

  • Light trucks are usually designed to operate in more severe conditions, such as carrying greater loads more of the time and going off-road.

  • Light truck tires may have an extra casing ply, an extra belt, a stronger belt steel cord and/or a larger bead with more sidewall rubber. This is why light truck tires tend to be heavier than passenger tires.

  • Some light truck tires are also capable of higher air pressures and load carrying capacities

 

 

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