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tire (U.S. English) or tyre (British English) is a ring-shaped covering that fits around a wheel’s rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance. Most tires, such as those for automobiles and bicycles, provide traction between the vehicle and the road while providing a flexible cushion that absorbs shock.

Traction

The materials of modern pneumatic new tires are synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric and wire, along with carbon black and other chemical compounds. They consist of a tread and a body:

– The tread provides traction: The tread is the part of the tire that comes in contact with the road surface. The portion that is in contact with the road at a given instant in time is the contact patch. The tread is a thick rubber, or rubber/composite compound formulated to provide an appropriate level of traction that does not wear away too quickly.

The tread pattern is characterized by the geometrical shape of the grooves, lugs, voids and sipes. Grooves run circumferentially around the tire, and are needed to channel away water. Lugs are that portion of the tread design that contacts the road surface. Voids are spaces between lugs that allow the lugs to flex and evacuate water. Tread patterns feature non-symmetrical (or non-uniform) lug sizes circumferentially to minimize noise levels at discrete frequencies. Sipes are valleys cut across the tire, usually perpendicular to the grooves, which allow the water from the grooves to escape to the sides in an effort to prevent hydroplaning.

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Treads are often designed to meet specific product marketing positions. High performance tires have small void ratios to provide more rubber in contact with the road for higher traction, but may be compounded with softer rubber that provides better traction, but wears quickly. Mud and snow (M&S) tires are designed with higher void ratios to channel away rain and mud, while providing better gripping performance. Specialized tires will always work better than general/all purpose/all weather tires when being used in the conditions the specialized tires are designed for.

– The body provides containment for a quantity of compressed air: Sidewall Uneven sidewall wear, down to fabric plies, due to significant under-inflation. The sidewall is that part of the tire that bridges between the tread and bead. The sidewall is largely rubber but reinforced with fabric or steel cords that provide for tensile strength and flexibility. The sidewall contains air pressure and transmits the torque applied by the drive axle to the tread to create traction but supports little of the weight of the vehicle, as is clear from the total collapse of the tire when punctured. Sidewalls are molded with manufacturer-specific detail, government mandated warning labels, and other consumer information, and sometimes decorative ornamentation, like whitewalls.

Shoulder: The shoulder is that part of the tire at the edge of the treadas it makes transition to the sidewall.

Ply: Plies are layers of relatively inextensible cords embedded in the rubber to hold its shape by preventing the rubber from stretching in response to the internal pressure. The orientations of the plies play a large role in the performance of the tire and is one of the main ways that tires are categorized.

Tires Charlotte

Pneumatic tires are manufactured in about 450 tire factories around the world. Over one billion tires are manufactured annually, making the tire industry a major consumer of natural rubber. It is estimated that by 2015, 1.72 billion tires are expected to be sold globally. In 2004, $80 billion of tires were sold worldwide; in 2010 it was $140 billion.