Technology to Control Molecular Structures - NanoPro-Tech™
Maximizing benefits of tire materials to meet various applications
To produce tires that satisfy diverse end-user needs, the Bridgestone Group are working on the tire design technology at the molecular level using our unique technology called "NanoPro-Tech" (Nanostructure-Oriented Properties Control Technology). NanoPro-Tech is a fundamental technology for a wide range of Bridgestone tires, such as passenger tires, motorcycle tires,truck & bus tires, and aircraft tires.
The primary material used in producing tires is rubber – both natural and synthetic. Rubber compounds used for tires are complex made from various materials, such as carbon black and silica(*1) for reinforcement and chemicals for degradation control. Tires also use various other materials inside, such as steel cords and synthetic fibers.
Developing tires from material molecules
Scale image of nanometer molecules
The term "nano" means "one billionth" and accordingly "nanometer" (nm = one billionth of a meter) refers to an extremely small unit of length used for measuring atoms and molecules.
To make the concept of "nano-scale" easier-to-understand, let's imagine a tire that is the same size as the earth.
Creating a tire (approx. 1 m in diameter) from designing material's molecules (approx. 1 nm) is like creating the earth (approx. 10,000 km in diameter) from a small screw (approx. 1 cm).
The Bridgestone Group develops tires using technologies on a wide range of scales from "nano-scale" molecular designing of materials to “meter-scale” evaluation tests with vehicles.
“NanoPro-Tech” – Bridgestone’s material design technology
The Bridgestone Group creates new tire materials and compounds using "NanoPro-Tech“ to meet a wide range of tire performances.
Silica dispersion technology is a good example of NanoPro-Tech. While silica can improve both fuel efficiency and wet grip performance of tires, its hydrophilic surface is not suitable to disperse well in hydrophobic rubber. Therefore silica dispersion is a main issue to get better performances of tires.
We design rubber molecules to bind well with silica particles for improving silica dispersion in rubber.
With this technology, we facilitate maximum use of the benefits of silica and achieve tire performance improvement.
NanoPro-Tech changes tires
NanoPro-Tech can improve various properties of tires, such as fuel efficiency, wet grip, wear resistance and durability. The fundamental technologies of NanoPro-Tech are also used in various our products other than tires.