AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS FOR RECYCLED RUBBER TIRE
Entech Presents at 2016 SPE Automotive TPO Engineered Polyolefins Conference.
This past October, Entech was pleased to have our very own Haikun Xu present at the 2016 SPE Automotive TPO Engineered Polyolefins Conference. His research discussed the use of micronized rubber powder in recycled thermoplastic polyolefins to improve their elastomeric properties for automotive applications.
Thermoplastic elastomers offer a combination of great thermoplastic processability and rubber properties, but the process of recycling and reprocessing them into useful products has always been challenging. Similarly, tire rubbers have been one of the most problematic materials to recycle, due to their large volume and durability. Innovative and effective methods are critical to reuse the recycled tire rubbers in value-added products other than their traditional use for fuel values.
In his study, Haikun fabricated micron-size rubber powders (MRPs) from recycled truck tires in large volume, and used them as fillers for the twin screw extruder (TSE) compounding of recycled TPOs. The physical and mechanical properties (hardness, MFI, tensile, Izod impact, etc) were extensively tested to study the overall performance of the compounds for automotive and commodity applications.
What he found was the addition and the loading percentage of the rubber had significant effects on the hardness, MFI, and the tensile properties of TPO compounds. As rubber loading ratios increased, these properties decreased. In addition, TPO has excellent compatibility with micron-sized rubber powders (MRPs) without the need of compatibilizers to enhance the bonding. For cost effective applications, the balance between properties and the amount of rubber used in the TPO compounds should be weighed.