by Kelsey Noyes and Joseph Kulig, Goodyear Tire & Rubber
It is known that the oil used as a plasticizing agent in rubber compounds has historically been of petroleum origin. These oils include distillate aromatic extract (DAE), treated distillated aromatic extract (TDAE) and medium extracted solvate (MES). Since 2011, Goodyear has been investigating the utility of soybean oil (SBO) as an alternative to replace petroleum based oils. It was found that the unique structural (figure 1) and physical properties of SBO can be harnessed to provide improvements in compound processing and performance for tire applications. Since this discovery, Goodyear has developed multiple products that make use of SBO through extension in solution styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR) and as a raw material in tire compounds. The benefits of SBO were harnessed through these avenues to create the Assurance WeatherReady tire in 2017, which is the industry’s first passenger tire to achieve full replacement of petroleum based oil with SBO in the tread.