In this week's show, Ray talked us through his insurance win, we have another look
Motorcycle tires are an essential component of any motorcycle, providing the necessary traction and stability needed for safe and efficient riding. But have you ever wondered what exactly goes into making a motorcycle tire and why each ingredient is used? In this article, we will explore the process of making the rubber compound used in motorcycle tires and the role that each ingredient plays in ensuring optimal performance.
The rubber compound is the heart and soul of any motorcycle tire. It is the part of the tire that comes into contact with the road surface and provides the necessary traction and grip. The rubber compound is made up of several ingredients, each with its unique properties and functions.
The primary ingredient in the rubber compound is natural rubber. Natural rubber is derived from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree, which is primarily grown in Southeast Asia. The sap is collected by making small incisions in the bark of the tree and allowing the sap to flow out. The sap is then collected in cups and taken to a processing plant, where it is turned into usable rubber.
Natural rubber is an essential ingredient in the rubber compound because it provides elasticity and flexibility to the tire. It also offers excellent grip and traction in a variety of weather conditions. Natural rubber is used in the outer layer of the tire tread to provide grip and in the sidewalls to provide flexibility and shock absorption.
In addition to natural rubber, the rubber compound also contains synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubber is made from petroleum-based chemicals and is used to improve the durability and performance of the tire. Synthetic rubber can be tailored to meet specific performance requirements, such as increased grip or reduced rolling resistance.
Carbon black is another critical ingredient in the rubber compound. It is a form of carbon that is produced by burning petroleum products or natural gas. Carbon black is added to the rubber compound to improve its strength and durability. It also helps to reduce heat build-up and improve the tire's resistance to abrasion.
Silica is another ingredient that is often added to the rubber compound. It is a mineral that is extracted from sand or quartz and is used to improve the tire's grip and handling. Silica is often used in conjunction with carbon black to balance the tire's performance and provide optimal handling and wear.
Antioxidants are added to the rubber compound to protect it from deterioration caused by oxygen and ozone exposure. Antioxidants help to prevent cracking, dry rot, and other forms of damage that can occur over time.
Finally, the rubber compound also contains processing aids that help to improve the manufacturing process. These processing aids can include oils, waxes, and other compounds that improve the flow of the rubber during the manufacturing process.
As you can see, the rubber compound used in motorcycle tires is made up of several key ingredients, each with its unique properties and functions. Natural rubber provides elasticity and flexibility, while synthetic rubber improves durability and performance. Carbon black and silica improve strength and grip, while antioxidants protect the rubber from deterioration. Finally, processing aids help to improve the manufacturing process. Understanding the role of each ingredient in the rubber compound can help riders make informed decisions when selecting tires for their motorcycles.
So next time you go looking for some new shoes for your steed, spare a thought for what goes into your tyres and maybe this will help you make sense of all that jargon.