Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Full article issued by Flinders University.

ARC-supported researchers, led by Associate Professor Justin Chalker at Flinders University, have discovered a new kind of rubber and catalyst that, together, can be used with low energy consumption to make flexible, repairable, sustainable objects—including car tyres.

According to Planet ARK, each year in Australia, the equivalent of 48 million tyres reach the end of their life, and only 16% of these are domestically recycled. Around two-thirds of used tyres in Australia end up in landfill, are stockpiled, illegally dumped or have an unknown fate.

The new rubber material, made from cheap and plentiful industrial waste products sulfur, canola cooking oil and dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) from petroleum refining, can be completely repaired and returned to its original strength in minutes—even at room temperature—with an amine catalyst.

"The new type of rubber can be seamlessly repaired if damaged and can also be recycled, and reveals a new concept in the repair, adhesion and recycling of sustainable rubber," says Associate Professor Chalker.

“It is exciting to see how the underlying chemistry of these materials has such wide potential in recycling, next-generation adhesives, and additive manufacturing.”


Photo credit: 

Image credit:  Peakpx (Public Domain).