A patented process involving silanes has led to the design and testing of new type of radial tire.
Former University of Cincinnati Engineering Professor Emeritus Wim van Ooij, now chief scientist at the spin-off company he helped set up, filed the patent for the process in the name of the University of Cincinnati in 2004. However, until now, work on its development has been carried out in secret.
"This is a unique patent as it describes the bonding of steel to rubber through the use of silanes," stated van Ooij. "No one had done that before." Van Ooij’s company, Ecosil, is one of three parties working on the project.
“We collaborate with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in Findlay, Ohio, and also with Tokusen USA Inc., in Arkansas," van Ooij explained. Tokusen is the domestic branch of a Japanese specialty wire manufacturer, who works extensively with the tyre industry by providing the steel cords for the tire belts.
"The people at Cooper are very excited," said van Ooij. "Their tire tests clearly demonstrated the performance advantages of the presence of the silane-treated steel cords in the belt." Following years of development, the three companies have decided to go public on their work. "We’ve been blowing tires up and blowing tires out," van Ooij quipped. "Now we’re ready to blow our cover."
For their efforts in developing this new process, van Ooij and co-inventors are receiving the first Ohio Patent Award from the Ohio Academy of Science and the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Intellectual Property Law Section. Van Ooij will receive an engraved plaque from the Ohio Academy of Science at its annual meeting on Apr. 10. (Tyres & Accessories)