New grades of Zeosil highly dispersible silica technology from Rhodia

New grades of Zeosil highly dispersible silica technology from Rhodia
Impending EU tire label legislation due to come into effect on November 1, 2012 provides opportunities for tire manufacturers to differentiate their product offering to further improve fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise for passenger cars, and light and heavy commercial vehicles.

Zeosil and Zeosil Premium benchmark ranges of Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) from Rhodia, a member of the Solvay group, are well established key components in providing better performing, safer and fuel-efficient tires worldwide.

“The new tire labeling draws attention to three basic criteria, two of which are directly linked and influenced by silica,” says Christian Léger, Silica Global Business Director for Rhodia. “Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions economy, which is high on the agenda of today’s cost and environment conscious consumers, and safety, equally top-of-mind and which concerns handling, breaking precision in both wet and wintry conditions.”

At the Tire Technology Expo in Cologne Rhodia delivered a paper highlighting the benefits of their newest Zeosil Premium and Zeosil 1085GR products which meet and surpass the specific criteria and additional challenges imposed by the new tire labeling legislation.

Zeosil Premium is the only Highly Dispersible Silica to achieve both the best performance in rolling resistance and the best wear resistance. In addition, the excellent handling performance brought with this breakthrough silica makes it possible to use full silica compounds in sport and high performance tires.

Soline de Cayeux, Business Development Manager at Rhodia: “The new Zeosil1085GR is a Very Low Surface Area (VLSA) Highly Dispersible Silica technology. The use of this new silica in passenger car tire tread improves traction in wet conditions and contributes to providing up to 10% shorter braking distance on wet surfaces, a key safety factor underlined by the new legislation. It also enables new levels of snow grip in wintry driving conditions while guaranteeing wear resistance and handling performance.”

“Zeosil 1085GR can also be used as a drop-in replacement for carbon black in some non-tread parts (like sidewall, bead area…) of the tires, leading to even higher fuel efficiency.” de Cayeux added.

The rolling resistance of tires also determines their fuel efficiency grading under the new legislation. Rhodia’s Zeosil range of HDS products can reduce rolling resistance by up to 25% and consequently fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 7%.

Léger says, “An additional criteria concerns the tire manufacturers themselves and Rhodia does help here. The EU expects manufacturers of consumer goods, tires included, to make products which reduce energy consumption. The unique morphology of Zeosil achieves this while offering benchmark processing performance.”

As a result of the new tire labeling legislation purchasers of tires will be able to make an informed choice about their fuel-efficiency, safety and noise performance. Similar to the “A to G” classification system used on European energy labels in a wide range of consumer applications, only the most energy-efficient tires will be attributed an “A” rating.

Léger concluded, “Rhodia has recently increased production capacity for highly dispersible silica by more than 40% which clearly demonstrates that we are prepared to support our customers to meet the long-term growth expectations associated with demand for safer, fuel-saving tires.”

Rhodia is the inventor and leading global provider of highly dispersible silica with eight manufacturing facilities spread across four continents – Europe, Asia, North America and South America - all operating at the highest quality standards to meet customers’ needs and serve the growing global demand for energy-efficient tires.

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Rhodia is a world leader in the development and production of specialty chemicals.