Evonik develops active filler to improve traction in winter tires

Essen, Germany – Evonik Industries has developed an active filler for the tire industry that significantly improves the traction of winter tires in snowy and slushy conditions, thereby increasing safety. ULTRASIL® 4000 GR is the first low surface area (LSA) silica that also offers very good dispersibility. This enables very high filler levels in the tire tread, further improving traction compared to tires using conventional silica.

“Unique to ULTRASIL® 4000 GR is its product design that combines very good dispersibility and a low surface area, and this is what makes the high filler levels possible,” says Bernhard Schäfer, senior vice president, rubber silica, at Evonik. Despite its high filler quantity, this silica can easily be dispersed into the rubber compound. “Even after short mixing processes, it is possible to create compact rubber batches with good sheet appearance,” Schäfer explains.

Not only in tire treads, but also in sidewalls and non-tire applications such as mechanical rubber goods (MRG) or shoe soles, manufacturers are said to benefit from the resource-saving processing and excellent product properties of the new member of the ULTRASIL® family.

“After all, its excellent dispersibility is a significant advantage in processing here, too, particularly when using high filler levels,” emphasizes Roland Krafczyk, vice president, global applied technology, tire and rubber.

Under the ULTRASIL® brand, Evonik offers a wide range of fillers all over the world, which have various properties and particle sizes and are tailored to different applications.

ULTRASIL® 4000 GR will initially be produced in a new precipitated silica line at the Adapazarı site in northern Turkey. The line started operations in fall 2019 with the goal of strengthening the company’s position as a global partner for the tire industry. The new production line enabled Evonik to significantly expand its annual capacity for the manufacturing of silica and also created around 40 new jobs.

Silica is part of the Smart Materials division at Evonik, and thereby constitutes one of the four strategic growth pillars at the company. These intelligent products increase the performance of many materials.