Millions of tires end their life on the roads every year across the globe and proper disposal of these tires has become a huge issue. Scrap tires leach chemicals, fill up landfills, generate toxic fumes when burnt and act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Currently, tires cannot be completely recycled. However, new research studies have found that greater use of synthetic rubber could make it significantly easier to recycle tires.
Researchers based at the campus of Texas A&M University campus in Doha, Qatar and the California Institute of Technology claim to have found a new technique to make synthetic rubber that could possibly be used to make biodegradable tires and solve the issue of disposal of scrap tires.
The researchers found a new technique to connect molecules of cyclopentene, which is one of the byproducts of oil refining. Thus they made polypentenamers, which is similar to natural rubber. Currently, synthetic rubber is made from a different elastomer which has become more expensive in recent times. The scientists found that when heated using a special process, the synthetic rubber can be completely broken down and all its components can be fully recovered. The scientists are now working to find out how compatible this new rubber like material is with the metal and filling that is normally used to make standard tires.
Use of the new synthetic rubber could possibly make management of scrap tires a lot easier. The research team is now working on ways to make the production of tires from this new material on a commercial basis more viable. They have made presentations at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting and everything is still at a nascent. Nevertheless, in view of the fast pace at which the automotive industry is growing across the world, this could be a significant advance in the tire industry.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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