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Tear-resistant rubbery materials could pave the way for tougher tires

Personalabs - online blood tests & telemedicine

Personalabs - online blood tests & telemedicine

A new material design could reduce pollution where the rubber meets the road.

Strategically adding weak points along microscopic chains called polymers actually makes them harder to tear, researchers report in the June 23 Science. Because polymers are used in car tires, the findings could help reduce plastic pollution as tires wear down over time.

When tires scrape against the road, they drop tiny particles of rubber and plastic polymers, which pollute waterways and contaminate the air (SN: 11/12/18). Every year, tires release an estimated 6 million metric tons of these microplastics into the environment. Stronger polymers that break apart less easily could limit the amount of particles shed annually.

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