Hevea Brasiliensis - Rubber Tree

Hevea Brasiliensis - Rubber Tree

We all know that tires are made of rubber, but what kind of rubber is inside your tire?  The answer is quite likely that your tire is made from a combination of natural and synthetic rubbers, as well as fabric and wire, along with carbon black and other chemical compounds.

Natural rubber is made from a runny, milky white liquid called latex that escapes from certain plants when you cut into them.  There are approximately 200 plants in the world that produce latex, however ninety-nine percent of the world's natural rubber is made from the latex that comes from a tree species called Hevea Brasiliensis, also known as the rubber tree.  The world's largest single source of latex rubber is the Harbel Rubber Plantation near Monrovia in Liberia. This plantation was established in the 1920s and 1930s by the Firestone tire company.        

Synthetic rubbers are made in chemical plants using petrochemicals as their starting point.

Tire manufacturers are required to list the materials and number of layers of each material used to reinforce the rubber.  This information is branded on the sidewall of every new tire manufactured.

Although you may not know all of the materials used in the construction of your tire, you can rest easy knowing that extensive engineering involving computer simulation, real-world testing and trial and error is invested in the design and manufacture of modern tires.