Evonik Industries says it has developed a new, active filler for the tire industry that significantly improves the traction of winter tires in snowy and slushy conditions. It claims Ultrasil 4000 GR is the first low-surface-area (LSA) silica to also offer very good dispersibility, enabling very high filler levels in the tire tread and improving traction compared with tires using conventional silica.
“Unique to Ultrasil 4000 GR is its product design that combines very good dispersibility and a low surface area, and this is what makes the high filler levels possible,” said Bernhard Schäfer, SVP rubber silica at Evonik. Despite its high filler quantity, this silica can easily be dispersed into the rubber compound. “Even after short mixing processes, it is possible to create compact rubber batches with good sheet appearance,” Schäfer added.
The new silica is applicable not only in tire treads but also in sidewalls and non-tire applications such as mechanical rubber goods (MRG) or shoe soles. Evonik says that manufacturers will benefit from the resource-saving processing and excellent product properties of the new member of the Ultrasil family. “After all, its excellent dispersibility is a significant advantage in processing here, too, particularly when using high filler levels,” emphasized Roland Krafczyk, VP of global applied technology tire and rubber.
Ultrasil 4000 GR will initially be produced in a new precipitated silica line at the company’s Adapazarı site in northern Turkey. The line started operations in autumn 2019 with the goal of strengthening the company’s position as a global partner for the tire industry. The new production line enabled Evonik to significantly expand its annual capacity for the manufacturing of silica, and also created around 40 new jobs.