A rubber replacement

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has signed an exclusive agreement with Amerityre to jointly develop urethane tyres.

The ultimate goal is to make a replacement for rubber auto tyres.

‘The urethane tyre has been the Holy Grail of the tyre industry for decades, so we are approaching this project with a good deal of prudence,’ said Joe Gingo, Goodyear’s senior vice president for technology and global products planning.

According to Goodyear, the manufacturing processes involved in making a urethane tyre require less capital investment than those associated with traditional rubber tyres. And Amerityre has developed what early tests show may be a viable compound for the production of such tyres.

Tyremakers did extensive work on urethane auto tyres from the 1950s to 1970s. Goodyear even made red coloured urethane tyres with lights inside. But none measured up to conventional rubber tyres for wet or dry traction or for cut resistance, and the product was never commercialised.

Amerityre, while continuing to develop its material for auto tyres, sells flat-free urethane foam bicycle tyres called airriders. It has also developed flat-free tyres for garden tractors and wheelbarrows.

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