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Published on September 10, 2014

ITEC 2014 Paper 51: Naphthenic Process Oils--Meeting the Ever Changing Challenges for Non-Aromatic Process Oils for Tires

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Date Published September 10, 2014

The tire industry has seen significant changes in the last few years, especially in the European Union and by extension to the world.  The banning of Distillate Aromatic Extracts (DAE) in tires in January, 2010 required the reformulation and the introduction of process oils to replace the DAE.  These process oils include Heavy Naphthenics Oil (HNO), Treated Distillate Aromatic Extracts (TDAE), Residual Aromatic Extracts (RAE), Treated Residual Aromatic Extracts (TRAE), Mildly Extracted Solvate (MES), and Heavy Naphthenic Black Oil (HNBO).  In addition, it imposed new analytical testing (Bay Protons and 8-marker PAH's) to demonstrate compliance with the regulations.  The new testing required process oil manufacturers to develop test procedures to ensure that their particular manufacturing process was robust and consistent in meeting these requirements.  These process oil substitutions have occurred against the backdrop of change within the petroleum refining industry.  Over the past few decades, petroleum processing has been converting from a solvent extraction process to relatively new technology, severe hydroprocessing, which has had a severe impact on the physical and chemical properties of the process oils and their suitability in tire formulations.  This paper will describe the global refining processing changes and how that affects the overall supply of process oils available for the tire industry.  In addition, in November 2012, the introduction of performance labeling of tires introduced new constraints on the tire manufacturers.  Tires are graded on rolling resistance (improved fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions), wet braking (safety performance) and either noise (environmental) in the EU or wear (performance) in the USA.  The process oil is but one variable which impacts these criteria.  At best, the oil can improve the performance, at worst, it should have no effect.  A comparison of two model passenger car tire tread formulations, using several different process oils, will be presented.  The rubber compounds were evaluated by various physical and mechanical testing.  This paper will discuss how state-of-the-art severely hydroprocessed  naphthenic oils meet the various challenges to the petroleum refinery industry and the tire industry as they comply with these environmental and performance legislation, with a look at possible future changes.  Presented by Ed Casserly, Ph.D., Director--Refinery R & D, Ergon Refining, Inc.