A move away from vulcanization may be the key to much easier tire repairs.Researchers in Germany recently demonstrated a new way to make rubber capable of handling the demanding duties of tires. Unlike all the prior methods, this one substitutes the vulcanization process which uses heat and sulfur, German researchers have found a new way to make rubber tires using imidazolium bromide to modify bromobutyl rubber. The upshot of all this bromine talk is that the cross-linked rubber molecules in the vulcanized rubber cannot self-heal, whereas the new rubber can.
The researchers say that tears and holes in the new type of rubber would seal up. It does this at room temperature and IFL Science reports that it can be sped up by using heat. Therefore, your tire, which is actually a structure containing rubber, nylon cords, and steel, could possibly be repaired without a plug or patch in the future by a shop using just heat, or perhaps with a kit in the trunk. Better yet, the research indicates that the repaired rubber can withstand significant stress.
The method by which tire rubber is made was developed in the early 1800s by Charles Goodyear. A better method is way overdue. Read the researchers’ abstract yourself at this link.