RFP - Rubber Fibres Plastics International

Ausgabe 01 | 2018


Autonomous vacuum cleaner in a whole new way....

Do you feel the same way? Sometimes you read something, e.g., an online news, and you ask yourself what the authors actually had in mind while writing it. Then you question your own level of expertise, desperately rub your eyes and read it again. Yes, you did read correctly and immediately form an opinion... and days later a vision.

“Microplastics from tires - Identifying pathways of tyre material entering rivers and lakes” [1].
Pardon me? How do microplastics relate to tyre rubber? Did I miss any developments in the tyre sector? The report comes from a respectable association, WIP-Kunststoffe e. V., the Knowledge and Innovation Network Polymer Technology. They’re crazy, no, not Asterix’s Romans. We learned already plenty about the questionable use of plastic micro-particles as abrasives and fillers in cosmetics and its environmental impact, we also heard of hollow glass microspheres to reduce
the weight of plastics (“New Airbus A350 flies with [...] glass bubbles”[2]) and possibly rubber.

So, does it mean that light-weight construction of tyres will be realised with plastic beads?
It’s all past the point. It’s about tyre abrasion! According to the definition in text 63/2015 of the German Federal Environment Agency (chapter 3.3.4, Abrasion of synthetic rubber tyres, paragraph 1 [3]), tyre abrasion “can be classified as micro-particles of plastic”. Ah, that’s where it comes from. Still, one could argue about this classification.

If you look for the source of the report, you will find [4], the media information no. 169/2017 of the TU Berlin press office. It is actually the new joint project “Tyre abrasion in the environment” as part of the funding priority “Plastic in the environment – sources, sinks, solutions” of the FONA3 framework programme.

Quote of the announcement: “Another important aspect is also the development of baskets for sampling, with which the tyre particles from the street water runoff can be collected and subsequently analysed. In addition, selected measures are verified which could reduce the input of tyre material into the surface waters” and “From the various influencing factors we develop an evaluation matrix which enables planners, municipalities and street cleaning companies to derive suitable measures for different locations […] It is also planned to incorporate the results into national and European standards and regulations.” An ambitious goal, indeed.

As a result of such measures, I see already in my mind’s eye gullies overflowing on the streets when it rains, because the built-in fine screens have clogged up. Or instead of the signposting jungle we will see forests of HEPA filters along the roads. “Defeatist”, you think? No, doesn’t it make sense to trap the abrasion at its source? If we were to drive autonomously in the future, this could be both automated and adaptable to the prevailing weather conditions. At filling stations we would not only refuel gas or AdBlue or charge the battery, but also recycle the dust bag. Suction and mowing robots with navigation system, obstacle/traffic sign recognition and emergency brake function have been around for years. Then why not invent the suck mobile suitable for transporting people, the modernised “chitty chitty bang bang”, so to speak?

Ernst Debie

[1] http://wip-kunststoffe.de/wip/index.php?id=8&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=968619&cHash=7564e72426bfd8f580dab12388ec2d72 (last accessed on 10 January 2018)
[2] http://solutions.3mdeutschland.de/wps/portal/3M/de_DE/EU-EAMD/Home/OurMarkets/Aerospace/ (last accessed on 10 January 2018)
[3] https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/378/publikationen/texte_63_2015_quellen_fuer_mikroplastik_mit_relevanz_fuer_den_meeresschutz_1.pdf (last accessed on 10 January 2018)
[4] http://www.pressestelle.tu-berlin.de/menue/tub_medien/publikationen/medieninformationen/2017/oktober_2017/medieninformation_nr_1692017/ (last accessed on 10 January 2018)


Materials from Kuraray for weight and emission reduction, technological progress, safety and comfort in vehicles

Polymer manufacturer Kuraray has been a high-performance supplier and partner to the automotive industry for many years. The Japanese company announced that from now on, it will be aligning its products even more closely to applications in the automotive sector and offering solutions geared to customer needs. “With Kuraray’s extensive range of high-performance materials, we are able to meet the growing needs of the automotive industry,” explained Matthias Gutweiler, Managing Director of Kuraray Europe GmbH.


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Winter tire market to reach USD 25 billion by 2021 – Smithers Rapra publishes market report “The Future of Winter Tires to 2021”

Latest research from Smithers Rapra has identified the growing importance of winter tires to rubber and tire companies across the next five years. Data from the new market report “The Future of Winter Tires to 2021” shows world demand amounted to 175 million of these specialized products in 2015. This equated to a world value of USD 19.3 billion. Across the next five years several factors will help this expand at a year-on-year rate of 4.4 % – greater than the market average – yielding a total value of USD 25 billion in 2021.


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Record attendance in Cleveland – From the International Rubber Expo 2017 and International Elastomer Conference in Cleveland, OH, USA

The International Rubber Expo & Advanced Materials in Healthcare Expo 2017 and International Elastomer Conference (IEC), organized by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS), took place at the Huntington Convention Center from 10 – 12 October 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The exhibit drew a record 4,722 attendees from all over the world, while 84 % came from the USA and the remaining 16 % from international locations with the highest attendance from China, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Italy, India, and the Netherlands. 279 exhibitors presented at the fair, 212 of them are based in the USA and the remaining 67 international exhibitors came from 18 countries. 


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R.D. Abbott presented LAM 3D Printer using new LSR at IEC 2017

R.D. Abbott Company featured the latest addition to its technical services portfolio, a Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) 3D Printer, at the 2017 International Elastomer Conference (IEC) in Cleveland, OH, USA. This patent-pending LAM 3D Printer was developed by German RepRap, a German manufacturer for fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers, and was designed to run with 3D printable Silastic LC 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) from Dow Performance Silicones.


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Preview: 29th International Colloquium Plastics Technology

The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts at RWTH Aachen University will stage its 29th International Colloquium Plastics Technology in Aachen on 28 February and 1 March 2018. The Institute again expects around 800 experts from the global plastics industry to attend the event, which takes place every two years. In 2016, the delegates came from more than 300 companies and 15 nations. All the papers will be translated simultaneously into English.


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From the “Nanoaugmented Materials Industry Summit 2017”

The third edition of OCSiAl Group’s “Nanoaugmented Materials Industry Summit” took place from 15 – 16 November 2017 in Luxembourg. The event gathered together around 400 attendees from 30 countries to enjoy business networking opportunities while learning more about producing nanoaugmented materials with single wall carbon nanotubes.


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Influence of ground truck tires as an additive on the properties of a truck tread compound

Commercially available ground tire rubber (GTR) was mixed into a typical truck tire tread compound. The GTR originated from post-consumer truck tires and differed in the manufacturing process (cryogenic and warm grinding, resp.) as well as the ageing state. Regardless of the grinding process type, the vulcanizates containing GTR became softer, mechanical properties and the abrasion resistance worse and the Payne effect decreased. Additional artificial ageing of the GTR showed no further effects regarding property changes when adding GTR. Based on the vulcameter curves it could be seen that the curing behavior of the compounds changed and the crosslink density of the matrix obviously decreased by adding GTR. Additional μXRF images and measurements for dynamic local indentation indicated increased sulfur content inside the GTR particles.


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Elastomer challenges and opportunities for seal applications in downhole well completion and wellbore intervention

The intrinsic elasticity and resilience of elastomers over a broad deformation range makes them the ideal material for a variety of seal applications in oil and gas operations. However, it is challenging to identify elastomers for sealing components that could function properly and match the service life of a well under a harsh operating environment. This paper discusses the new demands on elastomer seals resulting from the increase of the depth and complexity of well exploration. The paper also provides knowledge on material screening and material lifetime prediction for more efficient elastomer seal design, along with the auxiliary tools.


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Kaolin reinforcement of some rubbers with novel sulfur cure systems

A large amount of kaolin (China clay) was used to reinforce the hardness, tensile strength, elongation at break, stored energy density at break, tear resistance, and Young’s modulus of some sulfur-cured NR, BR and EPDM. The kaolin surface had been pre-treated with 3-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTS) to reduce its polarity and prevent it from adsorbing moisture which could have been detrimental to the cure of the rubbers. For NR, the hardness and Young’s modulus improved, tensile strength and tear resistance were unchanged and the remaining properties deteriorated when kaolin was added. The viscosity increased and the scorch and optimum cure times decreased with kaolin. The highest cure rate ever reported for a sulfur-cured NR-based compound was achieved when kaolin was mixed with the rubber. For BR and EPDM, most of the properties including the viscosity gained significantly from the presence of kaolin in the rubbers. It was concluded that kaolin was an extending or non-reinforcing filler for NR, and highly reinforcing for BR and EPDM. Notably, the scorch and optimum cure times and cure rate of BR benefited so much, whereas with the exception of the scorch time, the optimum cure time and cure rate of EPDM were adversely affected by kaolin. The addition of kaolin increased the crosslink density of NR but had a detrimental effect on the crosslink density of BR and EPDM. The early indications are that kaolin is a viable alternative to carbon black and silica/silane systems in rubber reinforcement.


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PVC-foam sheet extrusion – A review of literature

The extrusion of rigid foamed PVC sheets and profiles is a comparatively special application compared to the market volume of PVC profiles and pipes. However, the technological challenges of manufacturing high-quality products that exhibit the advantages of these products, such as good chemical and water resistance, flame resistance and high specific stiffness at low weight and low material costs, are significantly­ greater. The challenge lies in the multiplicity of the parameters which determine the processing behaviour, the product quality and the costs. Analogous to the extrusion of other rigid PVC products, these influencing variables are found in the properties of the raw materials and the process parameters. However, in this application, the chemical and physical properties of the processing aid and of the blowing agent including their behaviour during extrusion are of particular importance. There are a number of scientific studies and publications summarized in this paper, which can be useful for the optimisation of process parameters, product quality and raw material costs.


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Technische Referate
Research news and views

Summary of papers:

  • Effect of curing system on HNBR properties
  • EVA/PU blends for shoe soles
  • Improving interfacial adhesion in aramid-fiber-reinforced rubber composites
  • Biomass-derived butadiene by dehydra-decyclization of tetrahydrofuran



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