TIRES | How they Work | Science Garage
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TIRES | How they Work | Science Garage


– Today we’re gonna explore how we got from this, to this. Let’s cut open a (beep) tire. (upbeat music) Polymer. Pop. This cars down to the atom. Science Ha ha ha. Rubber has been around forever. We know that Mayans
were using the sap from the rubber trees over 4,000 years ago. Raw rubber, or latex occurs naturally. Harvesting natural rubber is difficult for a lot of reasons. Enter: synthetics. So in 1931, American
company DuPont successfully industrialized synthetic rubber. They did this by taking
petroleum derived monomers like this ethylene, and
bonding it to other molecules to form long chains like
this: poly-ethylene. The monomer becomes a polymer. That’s what that means. You’re probably wondering: hey, are my tires real
rubber, or synthetic rubber? Your car’s tires are
probably mostly synthetic, but if you drive a bus,
plane or a tractor, there’s probably more
natural rubber in your tires. So, how did we get from a white blob to a solid, black tire? Vulcanization. Vulcanization makes rubber tough, and we have Charles
Goodyear to thank for that. He accidentally dropped
latex and sulfur together on his stove top. And guess what? Tougher rubber. Goodyear died broke, though. He invented a process
perfect for making tires one hundred years before cars. Goodyear tires? That’s not his company. That’s just an omage. Nicoli Tesla did not found Tesla. With heat as a catalyst,
the sulfur molecules act like bridges between
polymers binding them. What’s a catalyst? Well it’s like when you’re
at your ex-wife’s wedding. Everybody’s just millin’ about. Well, there’s a punch bowl there. Drop a little homemade LSD in that, you got yourself a party. Party. Paarrty. Paarrrttyyy. They found that adding some metals to the vulcanizing process
helped things along, and one that was
particularly good was zinc. It made the rubber tough, but
it also made the rubber white. Like this. That’s why the Michelin Man looks like he’s made out of marshmallows. – Only our standards are high. – Carbon black, a waste product of the petroleum industry, was added to make the tires last longer, but it changed the color
of the tire to black. The process was a little
bit more expensive, so they only used it
on the part of the tire that hit the road: the tread. Black tread, and white walls. Whitewalls! So how much harder is carbon-black rubber than regular, white rubber? We’re gonna find out. (power tool whirs) (clatters) Round two. (power tool whirs) (laughs) Rubber! Oh, it smells so bad. Okay, this lit right up. This smells horrible. I think I’m gonna throw up. And now, for the carbon black tire. (power tool whirs) Holy (beep) Guys, it’s not melting! It’s smokin’, but it’s not meltin’. Thanks, carbon. Okay, look at this. So this is the non-carbon black rubber that they just used to use on tires. You can see how it’s a goopy mess. Look, it’s comin’ off on my fingers. ‘Cause it got so hot that it
actually melted the rubber. That’s what we were talkin’ about. You can see here on the road, it’s this sticky little mass. This tire, with the carbon,
it’s nice and solid still. Yeah, it heated up. Yeah, it spit off these pieces. This is still whole tire. It didn’t melt. That’s the beauty. Nowadays, tires contain
all kinds of stuff. (yells over chainsaw engine)
What kind of stuff? Let’s find out. (chainsaw revs) Woooooo, rubber! Boy, that was fun. And easy. What we’ve got here is a radial tire. And we got the first one
of these bad boys in 1949. So, what is in this? Here, we got this nice,
hard carbonized rubber we’ve been talkin’ about. And then up in here, we
got nylon, we got vinyl. In here, you’re gonna see we
got a lotta steel threads. And then a thicker
caliber thread down here. That’s what’s gonna seal to your wheel. This is some heavy-duty (beep). And, if this was a self-sealing tire, you’d have a bunch of goop in here that would seal up a hole
if ya ran over a nail, or I don’t know, a porcupine. ‘Cause those are sharp. Rubber has gone from being
a flimsy, fragile novelty, to a modern automotive necessity. I mean, picture a car without rubber: no belts, no hoses, no tires. You’re goin’ nowhere. And all that fancy fiber and plastics, we wouldn’t have any of that
without polymer research inspired by rubber. Well I hope you enjoyed gettin’ into the nitty-gritty properties behind, what I think, is the most overlooked, and overworked part of
your car with us today. Please like, comment,
share, and subscribe. I can’t wait to do more of
this science with you guys. Hi mom.

100 thoughts on “TIRES | How they Work | Science Garage

  1. What was that thing that looked like a version of a road? When you compared the rubber with carbon black and old white rubber?

  2. i wish all College professors was as fun as this guy, i would have six pack abs in less than a month due to. laughing, and smart as fuck cause he'll make the lesson fun and interesting.

  3. Thumbs up for being awesome. ( even though you pronounced Nikola Tesla as "Nikoli Tesla ) DUH! (you're still awesome. ) ROCK ON!

  4. My favorite thing about this show is probably still that part Bart tackles that tire to show its insides lol

  5. Your drawing of "polyethylene" is incorrect. The double bonds in ethylene become the linking bonds in the polymer which has all single bonds. Other than that decent video, love the mention of poor ole goodyear.

  6. could go deeper into the topic like tire validity and quality, the main differences between tires (rain or snow ect), good or bad use .. the size indicated for each vehicle and where it interferes…

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