Additives News
ART uses tyre rubber as impact modifier
5 years, 8 months ago Posted in: Additives News 0

SOURCE: European Plastics News

11/10/2011 — As tyre rubber is a classic crosslinked thermosetting material, it cannot be re-melted as thermoplastics can. But Ohlsdorf, Austria-based rubber recycling company Asamer Rubber Technology (ART) has developed a new application area for rubber from used tyres – functional additives for thermoplastics.

There is plenty of raw material to feed the development, as used tyres amount to more than 50,000 tonnes/year in Austria alone. In 2002, ART installed what it claimed to be the largest central European rubber tyre granulation and grinding plant.

Recycling rubber by de-polymerisation and de-vulcanisation is still too expensive to be considered economically viable. So, as an alternative to thermal energy recovery, recyclers grind used tyre rubber into granulate form for use in a variety of applications.

Other types of elastomers are already used to boost the impact strength of thermoplastics, due to their softness and elasticity. But incorporation of tyre rubber granulate in thermoplastics leads to worse rather than improved mechanical properties.

Describing the developmental issues that its member ART faced, the Austrian Kunststoff Cluster points out that the poor mechanical properties are due to a lack of strong links between tyre rubber and thermoplastic polymer phases, which means there is insufficient transfer of energy between the rubber particles and the polymer matrix.

The solution found by ART and one of its project partners, Transfercenter für Kunststofftechnik in Wels, Austria, involves activating the rubber surfaces of its “non-cryogenically milled” material with electron beam radiation. The resulting Asagran modified rubber granulate (with hardness between Shore A50 and D70) is used as an additive in various Asaflex branded masterbatches and ready-to-use compounds.

These presently include Asaflex 1001 (LLDPE for PE and PP), ASAflex 3001 (EVA for polyolefins and PVC) and ASAflex 5001 (SEBS-based TPE-V). More recent introductions include Asflex 4000 for P-PVC, Asaflex 6000 for TPU and Asaflex 7000 for DuPont’s Hytrel brand TPE-E.

ART adds that Asaflex can also be used in thermosetting rubber, offering its fine Asaflex D material with D50 average particle size of 2µm as “crosslinkable rubber without prior de-vulcanisation”. Samples of Asaflex D are only available for those signing a secrecy agreement. Bearing in mind the black tyre origin of the material, ART says the masterbatches should be used “preferably in black or grey applications”.

One of the areas where the modified rubber could be used is wood plastic composites, in order to improve cold impact strength.

Other Austrian partners in the modified rubber additive project are: moulder PPI in Ebensee (now part of Polytec), extrusion machinery producer Greiner Extrusion in Nußbach, and Mediscan in KremsmŸnster, the ionising radiation specialist company of medical components producer Greiner Bio-One. ART presented the new additives on its stand at Fakuma 2011 in October.

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