Driving on Nano

A few sites picked up on a snippet from the Yokohama Tyre Company promising that their new “S.drive (tyre) provides extraordinary grip and handling, thanks to the latest in nanotechnology.”

Their C.drive range literature already promises that “the newly developed tread compound grips the road surface at the nano level for a degree of traction that is way beyond merely excellent.”

A few years ago there was a theory that adding carbon nanotubes to tyres would make them last so long you would rent them rather than buying them, or more entertaingly that using a ‘gecko’s foot’ nanostructured surface on tyres could allow us to mamximise road space by driving along the wall.

While we wait for those future visions, the industry has settled for continued use of carbon black, and we have seen a growing amount of silica nanoparticles being used by companies from Hankook to Pirelli.

One of the discoveries to come out of the recent focus on nanoparticles in the environment was that traditional car tyres produce large numbers of nanoparticles of due to wear, so it would be interesting to pose the question whether the addition of nanoparticles would reduce the total number of nanoparticles produced over the tyre’s lifetime?

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