Importance of Testing Tire Materials
Many people think of tires as nothing more than an errand and an occasional necessary expense. But tires are absolutely essential to the safety and function of any vehicle. In fact, the only part of the vehicle that actually makes contact with the road surface is the tire tread. That contact area, called the contact patch, is responsible for transmitting forces between the car and the road and maintaining a safe grip while in motion. Material quality is vital to ensuring top performance of this and every other component of the tire.
An experienced testing laboratory can execute countless tests, from raw materials assays to physical properties tests, to assess the quality of a given tire material.
Stages of Quality Control for Tire Materials
There are several points throughout the tire development process that a manufacturer may choose to invest in quality testing of tire materials, from material selection to final product validation.
Material Selection for Tires
When a tire manufacturer is selecting raw materials for tires and tire components, they may choose to engage an independent, third-party testing laboratory to assess those materials for purity and quality. At this stage, chemical analysis can detect trace amounts of contaminants that may compromise the purity of a material.
Tire Compound Development
Rubber compound formulations for tires are designed around the compound’s final service environment and performance requirements. For example, the sidewall compound may include an antiozonant or antidegradant since the sidewall is exposed to sunlight and ozone. Different compound formulations can be tested for quality and performance to ensure the best possible outcome.
When a tire is being designed, a manufacturer may rely on quality testing to ensure that tire component materials are able to fulfill their specific functions. Physical and environmental tests can be utilized to assess quality at this stage.
Quality Verification for Tires
Many products and materials, including tires and tire components, must meet the quality requirements set out by various standards organizations and governing bodies. Many of these organizations will only accept tire quality data from an independent, third-party testing laboratory or company.
Rubber Material Testing
Rubber material testing plays an important role in ongoing quality assessments throughout the tire development and manufacturing process. These tests can also detect potential issues early so they can be addressed before production begins.
There are several different types of material testing that can be used to assess the quality of tire materials:
Analytical testing is a broad term that refers to a wide range of chemical assessments that may be performed on raw materials or compounds.
Any single tire may contain dozens of raw materials, all of which can be tested in a laboratory for purity and quality. For example, a lab may assess a shipment of carbon black for purity before that material is incorporated into a compound.
Most tire components are made from compound materials, rather than a single raw material. These compounds can be assessed for quality on a chemical level to ensure appropriate ratios and address any concerns about possible contaminants.
Much of a tire’s performance is reliant upon the performance and physical properties of its many materials and compounds. The adhesion properties of rubber compounds intended for belts and sidewalls can determine how well that material can adhere to yarns, steel cords, and other materials. The sidewall’s ability to recover from deformation when the tire bumps a pothole is a product of its flexing and elongation properties. Countless tread functions, from wet grip to abrasion resistance, rely on the complex balance of its physical properties.
Each tire material must be able to serve its function and withstand its environment to fulfill quality requirements. A testing lab can test for each of these properties in a controlled environment to assess material performance and demonstrate compliance with quality standards.
Rubber Testing With ACE Laboratories
The expert team at ACE has a deep understanding of material quality as it relates to tires. From material selection to compound formulation to component material physical properties testing, you can count on ACE to support your dedication to quality at every stage of the development process. We also have significant experience testing to quality standards and can carry out specific testing protocols to demonstrate compliance as required by regulatory bodies.
To learn more about tire quality testing from ACE, talk to a member of our team.