Throughout the last 10 years, Molecular Rebar Design L.L.C., an Austin, Texas, company, has been developing a new form of commercially available multi-wall carbon nanotubes that result in dispersed individual, discrete, carbon nanotubes, marketed under the Molecular Rebar brand. Recent developments have led to rubber compound design that could address the tire performance needs for the premium tire segment, including the rapidly emerging electric vehicle market.
Molecular Rebar, in the newly developed third generation form, can be used to partially replace the carbon black in an off-the-road tire tread compound formula. This MRO Gen III material—when used at a replacement ratio of 3:8 for Molecular Rebar to N234 carbon black—can replace up to half of the typical carbon black content. This results in a compound that is lighter weight, has improved rolling resistance and heat build-up, and is significantly tougher, with greater cut and chip resistance.
Such improvements are expected to be useful in higher-performance tire applications, like electrical vehicles, OTR applications and luxury vehicle tires. The discrete carbon nanotubes allow greater freedom in performance properties to compound and tire engineers to re-write the boundaries of what is currently possible.