HOUSTON—ExxonMobil Chemical Co. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. have jointly developed what they claim are advanced tire inner liners for use in harsh winter conditions.
The two firms said the dynamically vulcanized alloy inner liners passed cold-temperature indoor testing and outdoor road tests in Canada, and have been presented to target tire makers for use in passenger vehicle tires.
The DVA inner liners previously had met Yokohama´s other criteria for use in winter weather-on pressure retention and permeability-and have been presented to potential customers representing about 80 percent of the global tire industry, an ExxonMobil spokeswoman said.
The liner technology is based on proprietary Exxpro-brand polymers and alloys of those polymers, as well as alloys and application technology developed by Yokohama. The technology used in the film liner materials combines the flexibility and elasticity of a rubber with the low-air permeability of a plastic, ExxonMobil said.
Rigorous cold-temperature indoor tire testing and outdoor road tests were conducted over a six-month period in northern Canada in temperatures as low as
-22° C, ExxonMobil said.
The DVA liners met low-temperature fatigue-resistance requirements that conventional inner liners have difficulty meeting. Also, on 15-inch, V-rated passenger tires, the DVA liners reduced weight by about 5.5 percent, and showed reduced rolling resistance, ExxonMobil said.
The company also said liners have exceptional air-retention properties up to seven to 10 times better than those obtained from conventional 100 phr halogenated butyl rubber liner compounds.
The joint agreement between ExxonMobil Chemical and Yokohama was announced in 2004, along with ExxonMobil´s acquisition of a global license from Yokohama for DVA inner liner technology. In October 2005, ExxonMobil announced a multimillion-dollar investment to double production capabilities for its Exxpro elastomer at its Baytown, Texas, facility. That expansion is expected to be completed by year´s end.
ExxonMobil also said it expects to commercialize a DVA resin product in the second half of 2007.