Orange oil adds grip, which makes for the best eco tires. Orange oil technology helps solve the grip problem with low rolling resistance eco tires. It allows motorists to save money by using less fuel and provides grip for safe and confident driving.
Typically, orange oil is used in detergents and perfumes. The oil doesn't come from the sweet, sticky part of the fruit. It comes from the orange peel. It’s quite acidic and when it touches rubber it softens it. Orange oil keeps the rubber tire compound soft and flexible so it grips the road. More importantly it keeps the rubber flexible in cold and wet conditions when rubber normally hardens and loses grip.
In the past rubber compounding for tires was a simple process. Soft compound tires gripped the road well but they wore out in a short time. Hard compound tires lacked grip, especially in cold and wet conditions, but they lasted a long time. Hard and soft compounds are now a thing of the past; except in race tire applications.
Other tire brand's low rolling resistance "eco tires" generally have stiffer build constructions and hard rubber compounds which reduce grip. Unfortunately there is an inverse relationship between low rolling resistance and wet grip performance. You can have one or the other.
However, the Yokohama Rubber company helped solve this problem with their own patented orange oil technology. The Yokohama eco tire range has low rolling resistance and good grip in wet conditions.
Current tire compounding technology is a very complicated science. Yokohama’s low rolling resistance "eco tire" range uses a technological innovation called a nano-blend rubber compound. It contains high quality fine-particle silica and orange oil. The rubber is precision blended with other ingredients to get the polymers just right so it provides three previously conflicting performance criteria: low rolling resistance for fuel saving, long mileage capability and excellent wet grip.
The reason the rubber compound is called a nano-blend is because it operates at an extremely small scale. The rubber compound engineers are interested in how the tire rubber conforms with the small stones and textures on the road surface.
The contact that each tire makes with the road is only about the size of the sole of a man’s shoe. So the flexibility and performance of the rubber compound is important so that each tire can grab as much surface area as possible within the tire contact patch to generate grip.
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