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Utilizing the "K" computer and Other Cutting-Edge Equipment, Sumitomo Rubber to Complete Development of "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN" New Materials Development Technology within 2015

 

July 6, 2015

 

 In 2011, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI) completed our original "4D NANO DESIGN" New Materials Development Technology after years of development. Now, SRI has been working on the development of the next evolution of our New Materials Development Technology: "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN," which we expect to complete within this year. "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN" will utilize the "K" computer and other cutting-edge equipment to perform highly advanced material simulations and analysis, thereby allowing us to achieve enormous improvements in terms of the three major conflicting tire performance traits: grip performance, fuel efficiency and wear performance.

 
"K" computerImage: Large-Scale Simulation of Rubber Chemical Breakdown

 
 

 Utilizing our company's advanced proprietary simulation technology, SRI completed the development of our "4D NANO DESIGN" New Materials Development Technology in 2011. Our original "4D NANO DESIGN" enabled us to predict and freely control the molecular structures and properties of rubber materials in order to design the kinds of materials needed for the development of high-performance tires and to do so both scientifically and efficiently, with high precision at the nano-level. Since then, we have made numerous advances in developing highly functional tire materials, resulting in the release of a wide range of tires featuring greatly enhanced performance.
 These include our DUNLOP "ENASAVE NEXT"*2 fuel-efficient tires, which achieve the highest possible "AAA-a" rating for rolling resistance and wet grip performance under Japan's tire labeling system, and our DUNLOP "WINTER MAXX"*2 studless tires, which achieve an 11% increase in on-ice braking performance*3 while extending overall tire life by 50%.*3 At the same time, however, with tire performance demands rising ever higher with each passing year, it has now become necessary to advance our "4D NANO DESIGN" technology even further in order to enhance the three major conflicting tire performance traits simultaneously: grip performance, fuel efficiency and wear performance, which contributes to resource savings by extending tire life.
 Thus, since 2012, SRI has been working on the development of "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN," which will utilize the world-class "SPring-8"*4 and J-PARC*5 research facilities to analyze and better understand the chemical structure of rubber and the behavior of the atoms and molecules that make up rubber materials. Next, using the "K" computer to build highly realistic models for more accurate simulations of rubber, "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN" will allow us to see and understand the actual phenomena behind the atomic and molecular behavior of rubber materials through large-scale modeling and simulation, something that our current generation "4D NANO DESIGN" cannot handle. The new possibilities that "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN" will bring include total visualization of various molecular-level phenomena occurring within rubber, from chemical breakdown at the micro level to abrasion at the macro level-phenomena that we have been unable to see with any previous technology. This will enable us to take an enormous leap forward in terms of analyzing and understanding the phenomena that cause rubber to deteriorate, thus allowing us to develop new materials and compounds that can prevent rubber deterioration.
 The development of "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN" is proceeding according to schedule and SRI plans to officially unveil this new technology at the Tokyo Motor Show this October. With enormous potential to produce various tires that will provide all new value, unlike anything that has come before, "ADVANCED 4D NANO DESIGN" will be incorporated in actual product development starting in 2016.

*1Silica is a filler material added to strengthen rubber. (Particle Diameter: 10 - 20 Nanometers)
*2For the Japanese market.
*3Compared to SRI's previous tire model.
*4SPring-8 is the name of a Large-Scale Synchrotron Radiation Facility located in the Town of Sayo in Sayo District, Hyogo Prefecture. It is capable of producing the world's most powerful synchrotron radiation.
*5J-PARC is the name of a Proton Accelerator and Research Center located in the Town of Tokai in Naka District, Ibaraki Prefecture. It is used for experiments involving subatomic particles and other advanced research.


 

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