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Aramid Fibers and Tires

Aramid fibers are a synthetic material that is both strong and heat resistant. This material is used in the production of kevlar and other materials designed for ballistic protection. Their high abrasion resistance has also made them of interest for tire production and is currently seeing increasing use.

Nokian Tires currently uses them for tire sidewall production in some tires. This is claimed to protect against external impact to the sidewall and rubbing against the wheel flange. The heat resistance and abrasion protection should prove useful for a sidewall as abrasion and heat can lead to tire blowouts. Reducing the number of such blowouts should reduce the instances of vehicle and human damage from blowout associated car accidents. For this reason it appears that lately Nokian has been increasing its use of aramid sidewalls significantly.

Nokian are not alone in their use of Aramid though as Michelin uses an aramid-based material called twaron under the tread of some premium sports tires. In this use it appears to bind the radials down and keep the tire in form at speed. This allows it to have a better grip and handling than should otherwise be possible.

The principle aramid-based material, Kevlar, also sees wide use in tires but that is such a broad subject as requiring its own article.