The development of modern materials is a challenging combination of chemistry and physics, interaction and co-operation, dedication and commitment. We sometimes actually need to “overturn” the laws of physics in order to optimise the best qualities of tyres.
I bet it comes as a surprise to many that a car tyre incorporates high technology and over one hundred raw materials; nanotechnology and advanced materials, each of which has its own specific duty to perform.
One of the high points of my own development team is the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded tyre, a multiple test winner, along with its tread compound, which integrates silica, canola oil and Cryo silane linking the first two. This world-class invention maximises ice grip. Canola oil provides tear resistance and elasticity in freezing conditions, enabling us to guarantee that the winter tyre remains flexible and soft and that it has first-rate grip.
Looking into the future, I am ready to bet on at least one thing: appreciation for environmental values will continue to rise steadily. We will see oil-based materials being replaced with vegetable-based materials and the real breakthrough of nanotechnology enabling the manufacture of increasingly durable and ever more lightly rolling tyres.
I’m pretty sure that tyres will still be round in 2050, but whether they are black, well, that remains to be seen. They will cause less environmental load and will contain technology that guides and assists drivers.