Tokyo – Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) has claimed a breakthrough in its development of tire rubber compounds with the achievement of a 1,000-fold increase in the speed of 4D-CT (4-dimensional computed tomography) imaging technology.
In collaboration with researchers from Tohoku University’s Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials (IMRAM), Sumitomo said it combined its in-house 4D-CT technique with IMRAM's “world’s fastest CT imaging technology”, to observe rubber failure "as it occurs during actual tire usage at varying speeds."
CT technology uses x-rays to capture multiple images of the internal structure of an object. A computer then converts these images into a single tomographic - i.e. cross section - image.
Sumitomo developed the 4D-CT technology as part of its “advanced 4D nano-design” programme in 2015, and has used the technology to develop new rubber materials with improved wear performance.
Up until today, capturing a single 3D image using the technology took “several seconds”, according to the Japanese rubber and tire group.
As a result of the recent collaboration, however, a 3D image can now be captured in around 1/100 of a second, said the Sumitomo statement.
The recent breakthrough in imaging, according to Sumitomo, allows for “continuous, high-speed observation of rubber failure phenomena in three dimensions and under conditions that better approximate the state of tire rubber during actual wear.”
SRI said it intended to use the technology to develop more advanced materials using the multi-beam 4D-CT technology in conjunction with machine learning and other advanced data processing techniques.
In addition, the tire maker aims to use the technology to further advance its ‘smart tire concept’ which offers peripheral services in addition to tire as a product.