Conference Q&A: Christopher Stevens, NGF Europe

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Please tell us a little about the company and your presentation at the Tire Technology Expo 2016 Conference.

NGF Europe produces rubber impregnated glass cord as well as aramids and fiber cords. The paper will review glass cord usage in tires, which goes back 50 years, and it will also look at new materials. In particular, we believe that carbon fiber or even glass carbon fiber hybrid cords hold great potential for usage in tire reinforcement. These are very lightweight, low hysteresis and high stiffness. They are already used in cars for engine timing belts where they’re working at high temperatures. These materials also have high flex duty and can withstand very high loads. Goodyear North America put a very specialized carbon fiber tire onto the market for a few years but that’s not in mass production now.

How do you hope to expand this research?

At the moment our main industry is not the tire industry but we would very much like to get involved. The idea is to present technical information about these cords and see if anyone is interested in a development project. This research needs to be cooperative because although we can make calculations based on what we know, we’re not experts at designing tires. We believe the stiffness and flexibility life of the cord will be very adequate. We also think the life of a tire is about one million cycles and these cords will go for 500 million cycles, so we don’t believe fatigue will be a problem either. We’re very pleased this paper has been put in the innovation section, which will hopefully attract an audience of people with free-thinking minds.

What challenges do you expect to encounter?

The biggest challenge is that every tire engineer knows how to work with steel, there are very few who know how to work with carbon. It behaves differently and it may need tensioning during the tire building process for example, so those things need to be investigated.

January 20, 2016

Image: www.alansmithphotography.co.uk

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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