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Discover a new kind of rubber made entirely from waste materials

Researchers from Flinders University found a new type of rubber which can be seamlessly repaired if damaged and can also be recycled.

Imagine a self-repairing rubber, or super-adhesive made entirely from waste materials.

It sounds like science fiction, but researchers 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.

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, says research leader Flinders University Associate Professor Justin Chalker, whose team’s breakthrough findings are described in leading international journal Chemical Science.

The amine catalyst used to trigger the reaction that causes the rubber to self-repair occurs within minutes in some cases and it is all done at room temperature, scientists say.

“This study reveals a new concept in the repair, adhesion and recycling of sustainable rubber”

says Associate Professor Chalker, adding too many plastics, rubbers and ceramics are not recyclable.

 

Each year in Australia, the equivalent of 48 million tyres reach the end of their life, 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.

This represents both a waste of resources and creates health and environmental issues. Each passenger car tyre contains approximately 1.5kg of steel, 0.5kg of textiles and 7 kg of rubber.      


Source: Flinders University

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