MN researchers invent 'corn' tires

U of M researchers invent new type of tires

MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota researchers have invented a new technology to produce car tires from renewable resources.

Tires are made from rubber, fabric, and wire with rubber making up nearly half of it. To make this rubber we need petroleum products like oil, but in the future, that may be the old fashioned way. The U of M researchers just discovered a way to take grass, compost and even corn and turn it into rubber.

"What we figured out in the lab was a way to take natural sugars in biomass and make the key molecule that you use in a car tire. This key molecule here is called isoprene, it's five carbons, and it forms a large molecule that know as rubber," said Associate Professor Paul Dauenhauer. University of Minnesota.

If you wanted to make bread, you would need flour. To make rubber you need isoprene.

"The technology that we've created makes the exact same car tire you use right now," said Paul Dauenhauer.

Since it's the exact same tire, it reacts the same way we would expect a tire to look and feel as it does on your car today. Professor Dauenhauer and his researchers have recently patented their research and they say that tire manufactures could start making tires using biomass within a year. 

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