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Nitrogen or Oxygen

Inflating earthmover tyres with nitrogen is not a new concept but with the continuing tire shortage many mines are looking for creative ways to get more life out of their tyres and run them more safely. With that in mind I ran accross this brief article on the use of nitrogen in earthmover tyres

Construction Equipment Resource Center – 2004

“Pressure loss is one of the biggest problems with tire maintenance because even when there are no leaks, oxygen molecules can sneak out between the rubber molecules of the tires.

Nitrogen (N2) molecules are fatter than oxygen molecules, so they can’t get through the rubber. Nitrogen-filled tires, therefore, maintain pressure more reliably and are less prone to damage caused by under-inflation. Several companies make nitrogen-fill compressors for use in the shop or on maintenance vehicles, or you can buy nitrogen in a cylinder.


Michelin recommends nitrogen inflation in applications where checking tire pressure is difficult or likely to be overlooked. Because nitrogen is inert, Michelin also recommends it where there is increased risk of fire or explosion, in hot environments, and in areas where there is a risk of electrical discharge.” 2004

Furthermore, consider this statement by Harold J Herzlich in a Tire Business article dated October 24, 2005: “Nitrogen’s slower permeability characteristics coupled with its bone-dry nature may partially ameliorate some field abuse conditions, including long term inflation maintenance neglect, improper repairs and certain types of tire pressure monitor malfunctions. Even though high purity nitrogen is no guarantee of performance and will not undo the many forms of damage or abuse that can lead to tire failure, it offers a low cost, risk free and positive service opportunity that has finally become commercially and technically practical”.

With over 50 years of experience in the tire industry I think Mr. Herzlich’s words may deserve some consideration. What do you say?

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