Cooper Tire & Rubber reach Key milestone in guayule rubber project.
Scientists working on Cooper Tire & Rubber’s guayule rubber project have reportedly reached a key milestone on the path to producing, by mid-2017, a concept tyre in which guayule-based polymers replace all natural and synthetic rubbers. Their testing has shown guayule to be an effective substitute material in certain components, with tyres produced using these components offering comparative performance to their conventional counterparts.
To date, Cooper has completed a number of tyre builds to test the replacement of Hevea and petroleum-sourced rubber in various components and has tested each individual build for overall performance. At the recent annual meeting of the public-private consortium behind the Cooper-led ‘Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule’ research and development grant, the tyre maker stated it has tested almost all tyre components with “promising results.”
“We have nearly finished our work on developing guayule-based tyre components and have tested these tyres to assure a full performance evaluation,” Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper’s senior vice-president of global research and development, told consortium members. “The results are highly promising. We have proven that we can replace traditional polymers with guayule in certain components, and that tyres made from these components perform equal to conventional tyres. We are optimising the use of guayule formulations to develop not only a full guayule tyre, but we will also evaluate guayule blends in certain components where an advantage has been shown to exist.”