AKRON — Goodyear is pioneering new frontiers in both tire and non-tire elastomer technology with the use of one of the most ubiquitous and environmentally friendly materials in the world — soybean oil.
According to Robert Woloszynek, chief engineer of polymer science for Goodyear, use of this vegetable byproduct over the last four years has transitioned from the research and development stage to the commercialized forefront, replacing petroleum-based oils in many of its premium tire brands.
And through compounding and other advancements, the world's third-largest tire maker has been able to meet the same performance thresholds — such as rolling resistance, wet and dry performance, and treadwear — found in tires with legacy naphthenic oils.
Mr. Woloszynek on Sept. 16 offered some of these unique benefits of soybean oil during the virtual International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC).
"I consider soybean oil to be one of the materials that checks all the boxes," Mr. Woloszynek said. "We have successfully transferred soybean oil to our premium products, and the success of those products over the last four years has led to great opportunities as we are able to combine performance and sustainability. This is proving to be a differentiator for Goodyear."
With fuel efficiency and sustainability at the top of customer demands today, replacing the use of petroleum-based oils in tire and non-tire products has become essential, Mr. Woloszynek said.
Customers are more educated today and are looking for all-in-one tire performance, something that has not been possible without complex formulations and compounds.
"Customers are looking for wet performance, increased fuel efficiency, snow performance, increased tread life, manufacturing efficiency and sustainability," Mr. Woloszynek said. "There is a want from customers to use sustainable materials, and this proves a challenging environment for us to keep an advantage over our competitors. Sustainability has come into focus as a key thing customers are looking for."