FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Like the inversely related points on the "magic" tire triangle, sustainability and performance can be difficult to reconcile.
Whereas some materials might be recovered, circular or recyclable, they often are representative of the polymer material that went into the recovery process. As such, recycled products may not meet necessary performance thresholds.
Brad Sellers, an associate consultant in the Materials Science and Engineering Division with Akron-based Smithers, highlighted some of the myriad materials that can help make both sustainability and performance possible May 10, the first day of the Rubber in Automotive Conference organized by Rubber News.
His wide-ranging talk, "Sustainable Rubber Formations for High Performance," focused on greener carbon black production methods, sustainable tire ingredients and new raw material technology, all at the onset of lightweighting (and electric vehicles).
"When we talk about sustainability, we talk about what is pushing it—and that is the environment, investors, employees and consumers," Sellers said. "We need to look at the big picture moving forward ... because it is a delicate balance of performance, sustainability and unintended consequences."
Here are four takeaways from Sellers' talk.