Tires Made from Trees Save on Fuel and Energy

Kaichang Li, an associate professor of wood science and engineering in the OSU College of Forestry believes that microcrystalline cellulose, a material made from trees and other plant fibers, may be able to replace about 12% of the silica used as a reinforcing filler in rubber tires.

Photo: Materials scientist and OSU doctoral student, Wen Bai, develops rubber composites in an OSU laboratory using a new technology that incorporates microcrystalline cellulose – an approach that may lead to automobile tires which cost less, perform better and produce improved vehicle mileage.

Lower production costs, more heat-resistant, fuel-efficient tires similar in traction and strength to conventional tires appear to be some of the benefits of the cellulose-infused tires. Ongoing studies will confirm the long-term durability of the wood-infused tires, and determine whether the fibers used in them hold up over use and time.

According to OSU:

This advance is another in a series of significant discoveries in Li’s research program at OSU in recent years. He developed a non-toxic adhesive for production of wood composite panels that has dramatically changed that industry, and in 2007 received a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award at the National Academy of Sciences for his work on new, sustainable and environmentally friendly wood products.

References: OSU|Science Direct
Photo Credit:
OSU Flickr

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