ExxonMobil Chemical Co. announced on June 19 that it will begin construction of a facility to manufacture new specialty elastomer compounds that can improve the durability of tires, make them lighter weight by using less raw materials and significantly reduce fuel consumption.
The plant, located in Pensacola, Fla. will manufacture a dynamically vulcanized alloy (DVA) of proprietary Exxpro specialty elastomers and nylon. This new Exxpro-based alloy can be blown into films and used as the air barrier inner liner of tires. ExxonMobil Chemical expects to commercialize the technology in late 2007 and open the plant in 2008.
"These new inner liners allow up to 80% reduction in hydrocarbon based raw materials versus current inner liner technology," said Art Sullivan, Butyl Polymers Global Business vice president, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. "This is a good example of how innovative polymer technologies can promote a sustainable future by reducing both motor fuel consumption and raw material usage."
The new compound also provides improved air barrier retention explains Sullivan, which allows for maintaining proper tire inflation. By reducing stress and irregular wear consumers can save millions of gallons of gasoline annually he says.
Tire inner liners with the Exxpro-based alloy are up to one-fifth the gauge of a conventional halobutyl inner liner, leading to lighter weight tires with improved rolling resistance. The new inner liner material has shown a 20% improvement in tire durability, and it also performs well in cold temperatures.