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Rolling resistance and wet grip in tyres are difficult to balance – improving one often worsens the performance of the other. New research from Nynas however, shows that increasing the molecular weight of plasticising oils improves wet grip performance while maintaining low rolling resistance.
"Nynas has previously formulated products with the focus on improved rolling resistance, such as Nytex 4700," says Anna Eriksson, Technical Coordinator, CMI/TYR, at Nynas. "Nytex 4700 was first developed as an environmentally sound alternative after the ban on aromatic extender oils. With this study we wanted to see if we could improve wet grip performance, important for safety, while keeping the already good rolling resistance, which is important for fuel economy."
Earlier Nynas research has shown that formulating with hydrocarbon resins improves wet grip performance of the tyre tread. "Since resins, which are high molecular weight petroleum-derived hydrocarbons, could be used to steer tyre performance, we got to thinking that high molecular weight plasticising mineral oil could show the same effect for a much lower price and with better availability," Eriksson says.
The study, which Eriksson presented at the recent Tyre Technology Expo in Cologne, Germany, found that in functionalised S-SBR tyre tread formulation, increasing the molecular weight of plasticising oils significantly improves wet grip performance while maintaining the level of rolling resistance. The research led to the development of Nytex 459, a heavy naphthenic black oil that Nynas is in the process of launching.
"With the closure of Group I oil refineries, there will be a lack of high-viscosity, high molecular weight products on the market," Eriksson says. "This is the right time for Nytex 459, and we have seen that the interest in these types of products is really increasing."
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