The Chemistry of Burnouts


Burnouts have always been a sense of power in the automotive world. For those sad souls whom have never witnessed or heard of one, it is where a vehicle is stationary and yet the tires are spinning on the ground at tremendous speeds. This display is a show of your vehicles capability of obtaining speeds far greater than others in a matter of seconds. I chose this topic to inform the world of its greatness. I have witnessed this show of power multiple times on almost every surface. This chemical reaction has created joy in the lives of many, including my own. It gathers friends, family and even complete strangers to the spectacle at hand.

Composition of ...

Tires and tar are the two main ingredients needed to create the chemical reaction of burnouts.

  • Tar: A sticky black substance that is pathed and cooled to create a multitude of different surfaces.

Chemistry's Role

The tires are created through a long process of mixing, heating, and extreme compression. The tire first gets all of its components mixed together in a banbury mixer, until they form a gum like composition. After they get created they are then pressed into a rough form of the final product. After pressed the tire gets sent to another plant that heats it above 300 degrees fahrenheit (149 Celsius) in a mold of the final product. It stays that way for around 15 minutes to make sure that the entire mold is filled with the material. Tar, in other words black top, is usually created through a combination of hydrocarbons, carbons, and petroleum. These ingredients are mixed and heated until it becomes a sticky resin. This resin is then placed upon the surface of where they are creating a new street, or fixing an old one, creating a playground, ect.

Background Research

The origins of burnouts can be traced to drag racing, where they have a practical purpose: drag racing tires perform better at higher temperatures, and a burnout is the quickest way to raise tire temperature immediately prior to a race. They also clean the tire of any debris and lay down a layer of rubber by the starting line for better traction.


-Composition of tires

-Creation of tires

-Burnout history

About the Author

Ryker Sturn is an interesting, to say the least, student at Billings Senior High School. He enjoys his great amounts of bass in his music, a side of off roading, and a hint of video games. He plans to go into one of the three fields that peak his interest, including aviation, EMT, or automotive.

  • Tires: tires are usually made up of not just rubber but fabric and copper wires as well. they have an outer layer of rubber that protects the copper wiring. The copper is the skeleton for the fabric which helps keep the rubber in place.