The Surprising Reasons Why Tires Are Black

Hint: it's because of carbon.

Tires are mainly composed of rubber, which in its raw form is viscous with an almost white milky quality to it, and carbon black, which is fine black powder, or soot, a byproduct of fossil fuels. It is this carbon black that gives tires their black color.

But it's not just any old black carbon that is used in tire production. It’s blended with silica and other chemicals such as a reinforcing filler to enhance rubber’s strength and durability while also conducting heat away from parts of the tire.

Is that all that tires are made of? Not at all. Manufacturers today also add up to 200 different ingredients in a tire mixture. Synthetic rubber polymers such as butadiene, styrene-butadiene, and halobutyl rubber are combined with natural rubber.

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These are meant to improve the tire's impermeability, rolling resistance, wear, and traction. Mixed together, all these ingredients create a black, gummy compound that is then cooled and cut into strips. 

What happens next to build the round sturdy tires we use? What engineering and technology go into creating resilient tires? We answer all these questions and more and bring you footage of tires being made from scratch.

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