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Garage Studio

Why are Tires Black?

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Have you ever looked at a vehicle and wondered why its tires are black? I mean, all tires are black, but why can’t they be maybe yellow or orange or purple? Well, let’s talk about the crucial material in tires that makes them black– and helps them maintain durability In this video from the Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio.

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Carbon black is the material in tires that, you guessed it, makes tires black. But it does so much more than that.

Carbon black is a large, global commodity used in tire production and other industrial rubber products. It’s composed of fine particles consisting mainly of carbon and is a byproduct of the combustion of various petroleum products. It’s used in various applications from being the black pigment in newspaper inks to serving as an electric conductive agent in various technologies.

But in tires, carbon black serves as a reinforcing filler that greatly increases the tire’s resistance to wear and abrasion. In short, it helps with longer-lasting tread life.

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Carbon black also helps to conduct heat away from the parts of the car and tire that tend to get pretty hot during driving, such as the tire’s belt areas and tread. In addition, it protects the tire from UV light and ozone, two elements that contribute to tire deterioration and cracking. Carbon black makes up about one-fourth of the weight of a standard automobile tire, and the amount of carbon black in a tire depends on its application.

​​Chemical engineers have found that a tire made without carbon black would likely last 5,000 miles or less- that’s definitely a no go when you consider that tire mileage warranties have surpassed 60,000 miles for certain PLT applications.

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Oh, and for the record, tires in years past have come out with different pops of color on the tread. And, I’m sure you’ve seen white and red lettering on sidewalls, which don’t contain carbon black. But ultimately, carbon black is a huge part of tire durability.

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