What’s the latest in the tire industry? How about turning dandelions into natural rubber?
Goodyear is collaborating with the Department of Defense, United States Air Force and other organizations to develop a dandelion-sourced natural rubber for military vehicles, aircraft and truck tires. A recent report published in Tire Business says that a multi-year, multi-million-dollar program aims to get dandelion-sourced domestic natural rubber to market more quickly.
Natural rubber is a key raw material in more than 40,000 products, used in mattresses, medical gloves and shoe soles, as well as tire production.
Dandelions can be grown in temperate rather than tropical climates and harvested in about six months, much more quickly than natural rubber trees, which take about seven years to produce the necessary latex required for natural rubber.
“Global demand for natural rubber continues to grow, and it remains a key raw material for the tire industry,” said Chris Helsel, senior vice president of Global Operations and chief technology officer for Goodyear. “This is a critical time to develop a domestic source of natural rubber, which may help mitigate future supply chain challenges.”
The NR produced will be used to make military aircraft tires that will be built and tested by Goodyear in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force’s AFRL at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
“We’re excited about this project, which holds a lot of promise for domestic rubber production and shows how bio-industrial manufacturing can help secure the domestic supply chain,” said Melanie Tomczak, chief technology officer at BioMADE, a partner in the research and development.