The chemical manufacturing subsidiary of ExxonMobil plans to build a factory to produce new specialty elastomer compounds that can improve the durability of tires and make them lighter in weight by using less raw material. Start-up of the Pensacola, FL plant is slated for early next year, according to Art Sullivan, a vp with ExxonMobil Chemical Co.
Sullivan noted that this compound, a dynamically vulcanized alloy (DVA) the company has named “Exxpro,” can be blown into films and used as the air barrier inner liner of tires. He said it is the first major technological advancement to tire inner-liner raw materials since ExxonMobil started producing such products in 1961.
“The Exxpro-based alloy provides improved air barrier retention vs. current commercial alternatives,” explained Sullivan. “Tire inner liners made with this Exxpro-based alloy are up to one-fifth the gauge of conventional halobutyl inner liners, leading to lighter weight tires with improved rolling resistance.”
He added that the new inner liner material has shown a 20% improvement in tire durability and performs well in cold temperatures yet allows for an up to 80% reduction in hydrocarbon-based raw materials vs. current inner-liner technology.
“This is a good example of how innovative polymer technologies can promote a sustainable future by reducing both motor fuel consumption and raw material usage,” Sullivan said.