Explained: Why are tyres only black in colour? - Hindustan Times
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Explained: Why are tyres only black in colour?

By | Edited by Aryan Prakash
Feb 11, 2023 03:49 PM IST

In 1895, pneumatic rubber tyres became widely used. These tyres were white because the natural colour of rubber is milky white. But then it was discovered that the white rubber tyres were insufficient for the required durability.

Tyres have been a mainstay of the automotive industry for more than a century, providing essential support and traction to vehicles on the road. One of the distinguishing characteristics of tyres is their black colour, which has become the industry standard. But why are the tyres black? The answer is found in the composition of the tyre, as well as its performance and appearance on the road. ALSO READ: How to extend your electric scooter's range? Follow these steps

Black colour is dominant colour of tyres.(Photo by Imthaz Ahamed on Unsplash)
Black colour is dominant colour of tyres.(Photo by Imthaz Ahamed on Unsplash)

The history of Tyres colour

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In 1895, pneumatic rubber tyres became widely used. These tyres were white because the natural colour of rubber is milky white. A blog post from Kia, a South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer, says, as automobiles evolved, it was discovered that the white rubber tyres were insufficient for the required durability. Tyre manufacturers added soot to tyre formulations to extend the life of the tyres.

Years later, a new substance known as carbon black replaced soot, greatly improving tyre strength.

What benefits carbon black adds?

Tyres are primarily black in colour because carbon black is added to the rubber mixture during the tyre manufacturing process. Carbon black is a fine black powder that is added to rubber as a chemical stabiliser to improve its durability and grip on the road.

Carbon black improves tyre stiffness and strength by transporting heat away from the tyres, particularly the treads, which frequently become quite hot while driving. ALSO READ: Volkswagen's made-in-India Virtus debuts in Brazil: All you need to know

Without carbon black, rubber tyres are more prone to hardening and deterioration from the sun's strong UV rays, which reduces tyre performance. In contrast, carbon black prevents tyre hardening, the post adds.

The black colour also conceals scuffs and marks caused by normal wear and tear, keeping the tyre looking newer for longer.

Are there other colours of tyre too?

While tyres are typically black, there have been several attempts to make them in other colours. For instance, specialised tyres for specialised markets, like racing tyres, are occasionally made in white, blue, or other colours. These coloured tyres aren't very common, and black continues to be the norm for most tyres.

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