Mar 19

Michelin Pushes Forward Knowledge on Tire and Road Wear Particles

A new step forward with the development of a system for analyzing small particles and presentation of the first research results to the scientific community and industry.

Improving knowledge of tire and road wear particles to improve action: a complementary approach to the Euro7 standard.

For the last 20 years, Michelin has been committed to reducing tire abrasion and to research on wear particles.

With a wish to reduce tire abrasion and deepen knowledge in this field, Michelin has developed a system for analyzing small, emitted particles, “SAMPLE”. This captures, sorts, counts and characterizes particles close up to tires with unequalled precision and reproducibility. This analysis system, presented at Tire Technology, opens the way to tires with wear particles totally bio-assimilable by nature.

There are questions being raised about tire and road wear particles. This is why it is essential to use reliable, reproducible and standardized measurements and will be a fundamental step in better understanding the environmental impact of these wear particles to innovate and devise new solutions.

Tire wear particles are on average the size of a human hair (100 µm) and form a complex mixture composed of equal parts of a combination of tire rubber (50%), minerals and other components of the road (50%).

The Michelin study has quantified the number of these particles that contribute to atmospheric pollution, i.e. PM10 et PM2.5(1) also known as fine particles.  Until today, these figures had never been verified by such precise experimental measurements. The initial results show that among the particles emitted by tires, on average 1.3% are PM10 and 0.16 % of PM2.5 are liable to be found in suspension in the air(2).

This precise quantification is important both for Michelin to increase understanding of the links between the tire, the road and the driving style and also for the official bodies in charge of estimating city pollution. These data are essential to the design of their simulation models for measuring air quality.

In December 2022 and in March 2023, this study was the subject of two scientific articles https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Frederic-Biesse.

Finally, Michelin has made available this system for analyzing emitted light particles to the tire industry and to ETRMA (European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association). The ETRMA will furthermore conduct a campaign of measurements on a larger scale with the aid of an independent third party. It will be launched during 2024 for a duration of around 18 months.

Michelin’s approach is complementary to the Euro7 standard

The Euro7 standard that has just been adopted by the European Commission will shortly set down the regulatory tire abrasion thresholds in order to reduce the quantities of particles emitted in Europe. This regulation has its own test method for quantifying all the wear particles from tire and the road, in terms of grams per km per ton carried. It enables overall emissions to be measured on a very large scale for all the tires on the market. Those not meeting the standard will no longer be marketable.

Michelin, a long-standing advocate of this regulation, is engaged in a complementary approach, furthering its understanding of this issue.

For the last 20 years, Michelin has been committed to reducing tire abrasion and to research on wear particles.

Since 2005, numerous research and development facilities have been committed to a better understanding and reduction of wear particles emissions [if it is what you mean by phenomenon]. To achieve this, Michelin relies both on its knowledge of materials and on a design strategy historically oriented to optimize the use of materials. This policy secured a 5% reduction in wear emissions of Michelin tires between 2015 and 2020 which has since continued.

At the end of 2023, the Group announced the creation of a common laboratory with the CNRS and the University of Clermont Auvergne: “BioDLab”. Its mission is to understand the biodegradation of wear particles, for then to develop tools for finding new concrete solutions to make them bio-assimilable by the environment.

The Clermont manufacturer is moreover internationally recognized as a leader in the field of particle emission longevity. A position confirmed by a test carried out by ADAC2, the German automobile association (Study published in March 2022) on a hundred or so tires.

Through these actions, Michelin wants to better understand the phenomenon of tire wear particles and their degradation process. There are multiple objectives: reduce their emissions, provide scientific responses, and develop concrete technical solutions.

Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

5409 Eglinton Ave W, Suite 208
Etobicoke, ON M9C 5K6