CINCINNATI (April 5, 2010)—The Ohio Academy of Science is honoring an emeritus professor at the University of Cincinnati and his co-inventors with the inaugural Ohio Patent Award for their work on a process that could yield stronger rubber-to-steel bonds.
William Vanooij, an engineering professor at UC from 1993 to 2004 and founder of Ecosil Technologies L.L.C., and two colleagues researched the use of silanes as a steel cord surface treatment to improve the bonding strength of steel to rubber and received a patent for their work.
The patent has led to the building, designing and testing of a special type of radial tire with the collaboration of collaboration with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Tokusen USA Inc., an Arkansas-based “specialty wire” manufacturer that provides steel cord to the tire industry.
Silanes are a type of silicon-bearing material used to increase adhesion of materials that otherwise would not stick to each other. Silanes are also used to promote the bonding of silica and rubber in compounding.
Vanooij said that his research goal with silanes to bond rubber to metals was to find a process that could replace the brass coating on the steel cords in radial tires because brass technology has several drawbacks, one of which is that brass-coated steel is sensitive to corrosion.
Vanooij and his co-inventors — former graduate student who now works for a large company in upstate New York and an engineer from a local company, who is now deceased — will be honored at the OAS's annual meeting on April 10. The Ohio State Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section is also involved in the award.