Published on October 16, 2012
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING" - a practice gone too far?The process of "Chunking"* has been practiced for approximately the past 10years with varying degrees of success (see attached article "Are you paying achunk for chunking?"). It has been known for several years that chunk filled tiresdo not perform as well as a tire filled with virgin or clean fill (See Graph I).However, in certain slow moving vehicles which tend to destroy the tire carcass ina relatively short period of time, the economics of chunking seemed to befavorable to the tire dealers. 70% of 88% of 106% of rated load rated load rated load Chunking can decrease tire carcass life by over 50% The chunking of tires causes heat of friction, resulting in rapid overheating and tire failure Graph IUnfortunately, some tire dealers (encouraged by the potential to increase profits bycheapening the end product) carried the concept of chunking to unacceptableextremes. Dealers who had been filling tires with virgin material foundthemselves uncompetitive and were forced to chunk to meet new low prices. Thedownward spiral of price decreases, especially at the wholesale (dealer to dealer)level, got so low that many dealers quit selling filled tires entirely or purchased*Chunking is the practice of cutting up polyurethane flatproofing polymer from previously filledtires, placing the cut up pieces in a new tire carcass and encapsulating with liquid polyurethanepolymer.
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING"them from dealers who were now mega-chunking at the 80-90% level. The onlydealers making any money on flatproofing were the so-called mega-chunkers.The ultimate result of all this mega-chunking was that tires were now failing at anever increasing rate, customers were being turned-off to flatproofing and the entiremarket was beginning to decline. To exasperate the situation, several newpolymer companies entered the flatproofing market with inferior products (seeGraph II) in the early 1990s only contributing to the overall decline of fill prices.The markets perception of filled tires and confidence in tire dealers suffered as aconsequence. 70% of 88% of 106 % of rated load rated load rated load Arnco patented technology results in cooler running tires; competitive tires fail from over- heating at temperatures in excess of 340°F Graph II 2
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING"A recent study of chunked tires has revealed some interesting data which mayultimately result in the reversal of the "mega-chunking" trend. The following willdescribe this new data:Tire Failures: There has been a significant increase in the occurrence of chunkedtire failures. This can be attributed to several factors: •Mega-chunking - Because old chunks of polyurethane do not bond to the new/virgin liquid fill, the more a tire is chunked, the more surfaces or interfaces are created increasing the heat of friction generated within a tire. •Incompatibility - There are now more than six (6) distinctly different types of flatproofing polymers available as potential virgin or chunk fill (see Photo I). The durometer (see Graph III) as well as chemical composition varies widely. This wide variation in products increases the probability that the virgin and/or chunking polymer will be incompatible. Photo IThe picture above shows 3 distinctly different (incompatible) chunks of fill taken from the same tire (1-Green, 2-Amber, 3-Brown) 3
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING" Graph III Photo IIThe above "Chunk" is an example of material with excessive heat history demonstrating "Thermal Fracturing". This material is estimated to be over 10 years old. •Heat History - When a filled tire fails, its generally due to excessive heat build-up in the tire carcass and polymer. This over-heated polyurethane 4
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING" polymer (see Photo II) is totally unacceptable for use in "chunking" as it has already begun to degrade or revert. Unfortunately, due to the increasing demand for "old chunk", a significant amount of high heat-history "chunk" is finding its way into unsuspecting customers tires. The use of this "old chunk" will result in the premature failure of filled tires due to run-away overheating. •Process Variability - Due to the very nature of the "chunking" process and component "raw materials", it is virtually impossible to ensure any level of consistency in a filled tire which has been chunked (see Photo III). Some tire dealers claim to select their chunk carefully choosing only the "good chunk". Others actually grade their chunk or attempt to match the size of the "chunks" to the size of the carcass to be filled. However, the bottom line is this: there is no way to determine with certainty the quality of "chunks" to be used in the "chunking" process. Therefore, at best, "chunking" is a hit or miss process solely dependent upon the ability of the processing personnel to determine the acceptability of the "chunks", the quantity to be used and the placement of the "chunks" in the carcass. Photo IIIThis photo shows the wide diversity of old fill used as chunking material in new tires. Many of these pieces were chunk of chunk of chunk. •Tire Carcass Over-heating - It is a common occurrence for tire failures to be attributed to abuse resulting from operating in a hazardous environment. However, tires filled with chunk (and/or inferior quality polymers - Graph 5
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING" II) can overheat resulting in tire carcass failures. The fill in these same tires may appear to be intact without degradation. However, frequently the excessive heat generated by the "chunk" or inferior polymer will cause the tire carcass to fail prior to any noticeable degradation in the fill mass. Dynamic testing of chunked vs. virgin filled tires has proven conclusively that "chunk" filling will generate excessive heat resulting in premature tire carcass failure (see Graph I).Although once perceived as a way of adding value for the consumer of flatproofedtires, "chunking" has been taken to extremes resulting in unacceptable levels ofproduct performance. Recent test data has confirmed the effects of chunking ontire overheating and premature failure in dynamic applications. Inferior lowdurometer products and excessive heat-history "chunks" have increased thevariability of the chunking process beyond acceptable parameters.The only way to ensure the quality of flatproofed tires is to fill them with highperformance polymers (similar to ARNCO patented* products RePneu ®,SuperFlex®, HeviDuty®, and Permacor®), according to the strict processrecommendations of the tire and polymer manufacturers (see ARNCO technicalmanual for details).The real value of flatproofing is to provide a tire which can operate without failurein a hazardous environment, delivering 100% of the expected tread wear andcapable of being retread multiple times (see Graph IV). New (virgin) flatproofingpolymer provides the greatest opportunity for delivering the maximum consumervalue and satisfaction.* Patent # 4,416,844 6
TECHNICAL UPDATE "CHUNKING" Photo IVThis picture shows what happens to a tire when the "Chunk" overheats. The "Chunked" core has disintegrated whilethe new virgin fill remained intact encapsulating the "Chunk". The tire failed due to the failure of the chunk - it had approximately 2" of good tread life remaining when the carcass failed. Graph IVlarry_cmisctuchunk 7
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