The rubber used in tires is created by a complex mixture of polymers and fillers consisting of natural and synthetic rubber. In the past, in order to increase strength of the rubber, a black powder known as “carbon black” was used as a filler. Because of the increasing demands for energy conservation and safety, a white powder known as silica, which is effective in increasing both fuel-efficient and wet-grip performance, has become more widely used and has been incorporated into many fuel-efficient tires.
Certain limitations have been noted because both silica and rubber, which have properties similar to water and oil, respectively, have low affinity. In addition, even if large amounts of silica are used but are not well mixed with the rubber, friction from the silicon rubbing against itself produces heat, which in turn dissipates the driving energy.
By combining the technical advantages of both companies, including Bridgestone Corporation’s NanoPro-Tech※ polymer technology and Kao’s interface control technology, Kao has developed a new silica dispersion improver that dramatically improves the compatibility between rubber and silica, allowing the silica to be distributed and dispersed more uniformly throughout the rubber. Kao’ new silica dispersion improver enables to include even larger amounts of silica than those previously anticipated. This has allowed us to achieve both fuel efficiency and wet-grip performance at the highest possible quality standards. In addition, the new silica dispersion improver is made from 100% plant-derived ingredients, which contributes to developing activities aimed at establishing a sustainable society.
The collective name for Bridgestone Corporation’s polymer technology that draws out the characteristics required to control the microstructure of materials through molecular design, etc. It is one of Bridgestone Corporation’s base technologies.
To contribute to the realization of a sustainable society, the promotion of technological development and business models that contribute to the expanding use of renewable resources and recycling has become an important topic of discussion.
From this point, Kao, together with customers, business partners, and society, will strive toward the realization of a sustainable society with “Eco Together” as its slogan.