ALBANY, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2016) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. scientists have reached a key milestone toward the goal of producing, by mid-2017, a concept tire that will be based 100-percent on guayule-based polymers.
At its recent annual meeting in Albany, the public-private consortium behind the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant, “Securing the Future of Natural Rubber — an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule,” reported several key advancements emerging from the group's work over the past year.
Guayule is a shrub that is grown primarily in the southwestern U.S. and contains latex that can be processed into rubber for use in tires.
The 100-percent guayule-based concept tire will undergo extensive technical evaluation following its production. Concurrently, Cooper will continue studies on potential commercialization of guayule-based tires for the future.
To date, Cooper — the lead agency in a research grant project — has completed a number of tire builds, iterative work that includes the replacement of both Hevea and synthetic rubber with guayule in various components, and then testing each build for overall performance, the Findlay-based tire maker said.
“We have nearly finished our work on developing guayule-based tire components and have tested these tires to assure a full performance evaluation,” said Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper's senior vice president of global research & development.