HANOVER, Germany—Development of Arlanxeo's new self-sealing compound for tires has entered the final stages of development now that an unnamed tire manufacturer has begun road testing the sealant.
Citing confidentiality reasons, Frank Lueckgen, global marketing director for tires at Arlanxeo's Tire and Specialty Rubbers business unit, declined to disclose more details about polymer at the recent Tire Technology Expo in Hanover. He did, however, note that the material is not a polyisobutylene—a known candidate for tire-sealant applications.
To date, lab test results have been heartening for Arlanxeo, which claims the compound has maintained its sealing effects throughout a range of temperatures.
"We have done tests in our labs and it has worked," Lueckgen said. "For example, it must have a sealing effect from minus 25 degrees C up to plus 100 degrees—a huge temperature range."
Results of the road tests being conducted by Arlanxeo's tire maker partner should be completed soon, with results due in June, according to Lueckgen.
"We are at an advanced stage with the project, but at the end of the day, the tire company has to tell us whether it works or not," Lueckgen said.
In addition to its self-sealing properties, Lueckgen cited the rubber compound's lack of stickiness as an advantage.
"Stickiness requires that you have to wrap up each tire separately for transport regions," he explained. "Sometime tires are in contact when they are transported and if it sticks then there is a big problem."
Lueckgen also said the costs associated with the new compound should not be prohibitive for tire makers. Total cost, he added, was not just about the price of compound but also involved applying the material on the tire.
"We gave to our customer our expectation for the price of the compound. They made a calculation, including additional costs for machinery to apply it and their conclusion was that it is competitive," he said.
He also pointed to availability issues around existing materials, particularly polyisobutylene, which could help the new compound carve a niche for itself.