"Self-Healing" Carbon Fiber ATV Drive Belt
AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 22, 2007 -- Goodyear
Engineered Products is hitting the trail with a
"self-healing" carbon-fiber- loaded ATV drive
belt that can reduce the possibility of a long
Goodyear Gatorback Sport is the first
Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT belt
with carbon fiber reinforcement in its body
construction, according to Loren Danhauer,
Goodyear chief belt engineer.
"Threadlike strands of carbon fiber are
strong and flexible and weigh much less than
steel of similar strength," said Danhauer. "The
fiber alignment in the rubber compound provides
added stiffness across the width of the belt."
Jonathan Cocco, marketing manager for
Goodyear aftermarket products, said a Goodyear
survey of quad riders shows they want precise,
immediate throttle response and off-road
durability whether for hunters, ranchers, fire
rescue teams or sport enthusiasts.
A CVT system varies the working ratio of two
v-shaped pulleys linked by the belt, said Cocco.
The distance between pulley flanges can
fluctuate, allowing the belt to ride smoothly up
or down the pulley, continuously changing the
gear ratio and varying vehicle speeds.
The pulleys are part of a power sensing drive
that increases tension during acceleration and
lowers tension when power is reduced.
Danhauer explained that conventional CVT belt
sidewalls can glaze and char from heat buildup
when engaged with pulleys under extreme loads.
Materials from the top width of the belt then
turn down and inward, creating vibrations that
can quickly destroy the belt.
"Gatorback Sport regulates itself under
extreme events," said Danhauer. "Its carbon
fiber in the rubber compound allows desired edge
slippage without losing top width. When extreme
demand subsides, the belt self-heals and again
picks up the load."
Danhauer added that tests he conducted show
significantly improved top width wear and
reduced belt weight loss.
Cocco said Gatorback Sport is responsive and
durable. "Its aggressive carbon fiber material
maintains pulley grip without sacrificing belt
wear," he said. "It provides quick, clean
throttle response to help riders conquer steep
hills and nasty mud pits, while withstanding
inadvertent abuse, such as spin-and-runs."
Gatorback Sport's performance was born from
race technology introduced last year. Hendrick
Motorsports and eventual NASCAR Nextel Cup
Series Champion Jimmy Johnson turned to Goodyear
for help after making mid-season engine
adjustments for added horsepower that increased
demand on cam drive belts by 50 percent.
Goodyear quickly responded by mixing carbon
fiber reinforcement in rubber compounds for the
new timing belt. The result was an advanced
composite that withstood the increased loads and
higher temperatures, allowed engines to run more
efficiently, and provided precision timing in a
very harsh environment.
"Buoyed by our success with carbon fiber, we
went to work on the CVT belt for all-terrain
vehicles," said Cocco. "Its performance earns it
the Gatorback name, joining a growing family of
popular Gatorback automotive belts that are used
by all major NASCAR Cup Series teams and are
available in auto part stores and service
While Gatorback Sport's lateral strength
comes from carbon fiber, its longitudinal
strength comes from Goodyear Flexten aramid
cords traveling the circumference of the belt.
Flexten minimizes stretch, stabilizes overall
length and maximizes horsepower transmission.
"It adds up to predictable tension performance,"
said Danhauer, "and tension is as important to
belts as air pressure is to tires."
Engineers also took care when designing belt
dimensions, precisely duplicating most major ATV
manufacturers' original equipment profiles and
measurements for top width, length and sidewalls
to ensure proper fits.
Gatorback Sport's top width range is 17 to 35
millimeters or 0.68 to 1.37 inches, while its
length range is 679 to 1106 mm or 26.75 to 43.56
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