Fuel efficiency is one important element determining a vehicle’s value. Tires have a significant impact on fuel efficiency. When driving on city streets, tires account for approximately 10% of a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. This increases to more than 20% when
driving at fixed speeds such as highway cruising speed.
Tires that meet a certain standard of performance are called fuel-efficient tires. Zeon’s solution-polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) makes significant contributions to this fuel-efficient performance.
Fuel-efficient tires typically weigh between 7 and 8 kilograms, of which approximately 10% is S-SBR. In addition to rubber, tire manufacturers use a number of materials combined with their own technologies to make vehicle tires.
The diagram shows the different parts of a tire.
Zeon’s S-SBR is used in the tread that makes
contact with the road.
Source: Tire Fair Trade Council (Japan) website (Japanese only)
A vehicle’s fuel efficiency is affected by its tires’ rolling resistance. As the diagram on the right shows, there are three types of resistance.
Because about 90% of the resistance comes from tire deformation, controlling tire deformation is key to reducing rolling resistance.
Zeon reduces tire deformation by controlling the molecular structure of S-SBR.
Having too little rolling resistance is dangerous, because tires will have poor wet grip performance and be slippery on wet road surfaces. Generally speaking, rolling resistance and wet grip have an inverse relationship—when one gets better, the other gets worse.
So tire manufacturers have been innovating in many ways to develop tires with low rolling resistance and high wet grip performance, including rubber composition, tire construction, and tread patterns.
Wear resistance is another important feature that tires need in order to deliver long life.
Zeon’s S-SBR technology controls the molecular structure of the rubber to achieve high performance in the three aspects of wet grip, rolling resistance, and wear resistance.
Comparing the lifecycle CO2 emissions of fuel-efficient tires and standard tires from raw materials production to disposal, fuel-efficient tires reportedly have 19% lower CO2 emissions*. Zeon is contributing to reducing overall vehicle CO2 emissions by improving the performance of fuel-efficient tires with S-SBR.
* Tyre Life Cycle CO2 Calculation Guidelines, Ver. 2 (Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association)