Air in your tyres
Compressed air – the traditional medium for inflating car tyres – contains both oxygen (21%) and nitrogen (78%). A rubber tyre is like a membrane, through which oxygen permeates three times faster than nitrogen. As a result, the oxygen slowly leaks out through the rubber walls, which leads to under-inflation. This in turn leads to higher tyre wear, decreased safety and comfort, and higher fuel costs. In addition, compressed air contains high levels of moisture, which can accelerate the corrosion of the tyre rim.
Tyres inflated with nitrogen
Nitrogen is used in tyres to avoid air leaking through the tyre wall, which results in under-inflation. The reason why nitrogen is used is because it is easy to produce, does not support combustion, has no smell and is also a component of atmospheric air. The difference between the pressure in a tyre and the pressure outside, causes oxygen to permeate through the tyre. If we can create the same concentration of oxygen inside and outside a tyre (equal partial pressure) then oxygen is not forced to leak through the tyre wall. Using nitrogen in tyres maintains the correct pressure, and reduces all the problems associated with under-inflation.
Correct inflation versus under-inflation
Correct inflation is highly significant when considering tyre life and performance. It is not always possible to look at a tyre and detect under-inflation. However, under-inflation can cause many tyre-related problems. As inflation pressure largely determines a tyre’s load capacity, under-inflation results in an overloaded tyre. An under-inflated tyre operates at high deflection resulting in decreased fuel economy, sluggish handling and may result in excessive mechanical flexing and heat build-up leading to catastrophic tyre failure.
Nitrogen benefits for your tyres:
More stable tyre pressures
The tyre pressure is maintained due to the molecules of nitrogen being 4 x times larger than that of oxygen therefore leaking through the tyre casing at a rate three times less than normal compressed air.
Increased levels of grip and handling
As the tyre pressure is maintained, the tyre maintains the correct contact with the road, ensuring the grip characteristics of the tyre are fully utilized.
Improved fuel economy
As air is lost through the tyre, the contact point with the road increases, therefore increasing engine load and fuel usage. With nitrogen filled tyres, the correct tyre pressure is maintained ensuring the tyre’s contact point with the road remains constant.
Extended tyre life
As correct pressure is maintained in the nitrogen filled tyres, the tyres do not experience excessive wear due to deformation, under or over inflation, increasing the life of the tyres. For commercial operators, as there is no oxidation in the rim and case bands, there is much less chance of blowouts, and extended case life for retreadability.
With the tyre maintaining the correct pressure and contact with the road, handling and safety for the driver are greatly improved.
No oxidation in rim and tyre
As nitrogen does not contain water vapour there is no oxidation with the rim, which can cause leakage through the valve core and an uneven surface for the bead to seat, and seal. Nitrogen does not bleed through the case wall of the tyre, and due to the absence of water vapour, does not corrode the steel strands in the tyre.
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