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Motor Vehicle Tires Pose Safety Risk

The tires that we depend upon to safely travel in our cars and trucks can pose safety risks to motorists. Tires are constructed of multiple layers. The layer which makes contact with the roadway can separate ("delaminate") from the rest of the tire under certain conditions. And a catastrophic failure of this type can lead to collisions which cause extreme bodily injury or death to the passengers in the vehicle whose tire failed, as well as to other users of the highways. The principal difficulty is to construct a method or substance to hold the rubber components in a tire to the steel components, which are used in steel-belted radial tire. When this adhesion fails, the tread may separate from the rest of the tire and produce disastrous consequences. That is especially true because heat may degrade the adhesive design, and heat is intensified at highway speeds, or in the summer, or in a combination of the two.

In addition to these issues, oxygen can literally degrade a tire from the inside out. For years, tire makers have understood that the oxygen present in the "air" with which we fill our tires can cause the materials used to make the tire break down. One solution is to use better (and more expensive) chemicals in the inner liner, which is the innermost layer of the tire that is exposed to the air. These chemicals can retard the migration of the oxygen into tires themselves. Another solution is to use a gas besides air to fill the tires, such as nitrogen.

The bottom line is that better design using higher-grade materials is necessary to safeguard members of the traveling public who depend upon tires every day of their lives.

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