Tokyo – The Yokohama Rubber Co. (YRC) has developed a material that it claims significantly reduces the weight of automotive air-conditioning hoses.
In a 27 July statement, Yokohama said it had employed its ‘proprietary technologies’ to develop a rubber-resin polymer alloy, using a “sea-island structure” in which the sea phase is composed of resin and the island phase is composed of rubber.
The polymer alloy, which combines the flexibility and heat resistance of rubber with the high gas barrier properties of resin, enabled Yokohama Rubber to reduce the weight of its hoses by 50%.
In addition, the hoses made from the alloy do not require a very hot vulcanisation process and are thereby a sustainable choice in terms of carbon footprint, YRC noted.
Yokohama said the development of the ultralight hoses are part of its strategy to promote ‘all-resin’ piping to achieve a significant reduction in the weight of hose and pipe combinations.
The Japanese manufacturer said it is currently “accelerating the development of a commercial product and aims for a full market launch in 2024.”