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Precipitated Silica - The Key to Green and Energy Efficient Tires

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by Anjani Menon
26 March 2015

Globally, around 150 million tires are produced annually to cater to the rising demand of the automotive industry. Carbon Black and Precipitated Silica are the two main ingredients which are added as reinforcing fillers and strongly improve tire tread wear resistance and enhance adhesion. Earlier, carbon black was used in conjunction with precipitated silica as filler in tires. However, the trend is shifting toward the complete replacement of carbon black with precipitated silica, the more eco-friendly substitute. Several greenhouse gases which are the major contributors to global warming are released when overcoming the rolling resistance of the carbon black reinforced tires. The growing need to mitigate environmental problems has led to the implementation of several rules and policies making the regulatory environment more stringent. These include mandatory CO2 emissions reduction, tire labeling and growth of the green tires market, essentially reducing the carbon footprint. A key component of Green Tires is precipitated silica making it the necessary ingredient of energy efficient tires and the answer to to a safe and non-polluted environment. Carbon Black - An Overview Global capacity of carbon black is estimated to be around 15.2 million MT in 2014 and planned capacity additions by carbon black producers is expected to take the global capacity to 15.6 million MT by 2017. The current global demand for carbon black in 2014 is estimated to be about 12.4 million MT and it is expected to grow at 4.3% Y-o-Y until 2017. Adding carbon black to the tire improves its tensile strength and wear resistance, thus imparting longer lifetime and greatly improved performance. The key driver of the carbon black market is the tire industry which accounts for nearly 70% of the downstream demand. Non tire rubber applications account for 24% of the demand and the remaining 10% is occupied by the Specialty Blacks used in paints, plastics, inks, coatings, pigments, mining.   Author: Anjani Menon

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