Why are the tires black?

By 10/09/2023 Portal

The explosion of the car as a means of transportation took place in 1908 when the first models of the Ford Model T came out of the Detroit plant (United States). As surprising as it may seem to us, the first tires that those vehicles fitted were not black, their color was cream. When those tires were later replaced, the color chosen was not the current black, but white; tires that can still be seen in some museums dedicated to the history of automobiles. To know the origin of white tires we have to go much further back, until 1883, that year we witnessed the birth of the first rubber-coated tire on a wooden structure. Related News standard No Why do we see puddles of water on the roads on very hot days? Pedro Choker The answer must be sought in temperature and light. We owe its appearance to Charles Goodyear (1800-1860), the American inventor who discovered the vulcanization process. The truth is that it was a revolution, it was a qualitative leap in terms of resistance, since those tires made with rubber and sulfur were much more solid. With them, carriage manufacturers covered the wheels, improving their ergonomics and making them quieter when moving along the cobblestone streets. Black carbon comes into play. Different ingredients are involved in the production of a tire, from elastomers to oils, including natural resins, silica, protective agents, polymers and, above all, rubber. It is precisely the latter that provides the flexibility, malleability and resistance that the tire needs. Now, the rubber is not black, in fact, it does not even have a dark tone, its color is milky. It must be kept in mind that rubber is obtained from the milk of the Havea brasiliensis, an Amazonian tree that can reach thirty meters in height. The year 1917 was decisive in the history of tire manufacturing; it was then that a new ingredient was incorporated: carbon black. It is a fine powder obtained from the incomplete combustion of petroleum derivatives and provides the characteristic blackish tone. It is very possible that drivers demanded a color that would keep their tires clean, since on their first trip they acquired a dirty tone that was difficult to remove. At first, white tires, ocher-colored tires and the new black tires coexisted, but little by little the latter color won the game by improving the qualities. And by adding carbon black to the rubber, the properties of the wheels were visibly optimized: the resistance to wear and abrasion was multiplied by ten. Another decisive aspect for the supremacy of the color black in tires was the Great War (1914-1918), the war required diverting the production of zinc oxide towards the manufacture of ammunition and separating it from the production of tires. This ingredient was what provided durability to the tires at that time and was replaced by carbon black. Two-tone tires In addition to all these advantages, we must take into account that black absorbs ultraviolet radiation better, which is ultimately responsible for the hardening and cracking of tires. Initially, some companies resisted using carbon black in the manufacture of their tires, since it increased the cost, which is why they decided to leave the sides free of this component. The final result was a two-tone tire that responded to purely economic reasons. MORE INFORMATION news No Why do we have five fingers... and not four or seven? news No 'The whole night...' Why I can't get that song out of my head, according to science At this time, carbon black represents the 25-30% of a tire's composition, which makes our tires not only more resistant to the passage of time, but also have better grip on the road.