RFP - Rubber Fibres Plastics International

Issue 03 | 2017


Thoughts are free …

… if you believe in a traditional German folk song - which might come to mind first when reading this statement.

If you dig a little deeper, you find that this idea, but perhaps not necessarily the message conveyed with it, was already expressed in antiquity. In his defense speech on behalf of Titus Annius Milo, Cicero stated that one should have at least the freedom to think what is conceivable [1]. However, Cicero did not seem to have any philosophical digression in mind nor a discourse on freedom of expression.

After a chequered history, today the right to freedom of thought and expression is required and documented, e.g., by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations or the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This is, however, not necessarily legally binding (UN Charter), or with regard to freedom of expression it becomes immediately restricted again (ECHR). The latter may be better understood if you take into account other legally protected interests such as public/national security, defense against crime, protection of health/morality, etc. So, in reality “only” our free thoughts remain. Really?

Wouldn’t you be glad to read the unspoken thoughts of your counterpart? Wouldn’t our daily communication be much easier, more honest, more purposeful or would it be the exact opposite? What would the advertising or opinion research industry be willing to sacrifice, if they had the chance to fully analyze our “free” thoughts. Even today, we are being blended and manipulated by means of nonsensical advertising, conspiracy theories, choice of opinion, postfactual, and felt “truths” (usually politicians, opinion-makers and “experts” intend to manipulate our perception of reality to enforce their own interests). This all makes us anxious about free thoughts and objecivity. Is this already the end of the road? Not at all!

Today’s protagonists are Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink) or Google. One of them makes his employees develop a technology that can convert thoughts to text, the other considers an interface to the brain, this interface is likely already beyond the pure planning stage, and yes, Google is also always good for surprises (the manager involved in the project at Facebook is Regina Dugan, who comes from Google). And everyone just wants our best. Of course, the research should help people with disabilities, in the future you will be able to save on translation services or enable people to keep up with artificial intelligence. Of course it is not a matter of indiscriminately reading somebody’s mind. Do you believe that?

It is also conceivable that thought-reading is not necessary at all. The analysis of Big Data in association with psychometric methods apparently already allows to assess internet users better than they could do themselves [2, 3].

Despite everything, make use of your freedom of thought as long as you can.

Ernst Debie

[1] “... liberae sunt enim nostrae cogitationes ...”, http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/milo.shtml#2 (accessed on 07.06.17)
[2] https://www.dasmagazin.ch/2016/12/03/ich-habe-nur-gezeigen-dass-es-die-bombe-geben/ (called on 14.06.17)
[3] http://www.zeit.de/digital/internet/2016-12/us-wahl-donald-trump-facebook-big-data-cambridge-analytica (clicked on 14.06.17)


RubberTech China 2017 preview

The China United Rubber Corporation (CURC) is organising RubberTech China 2017, the 17th international exhibition on rubber technology, from 20 – 22 September 2017 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) in Pudong, Shanghai, China. The event will be held in parallel to Tire+ 2017 – the international exhibition on tyres and aftermarket, RPE 2017 – the international exhibition on rubber products, as well as the 14th China International Tyre Resources Recycling Expo. According to CURC, over 600 exhibitors from 30 different countries and regions have reserved approximately 40,000 m2 of exhibition space at RubberTech China 2017. In addition, the organiser expects more than 30,000 visitors. In 2016, the event attracted 565 exhibitors from 23 countries and 13,065 visitors (10,883 local, 2,182 international) from 65 nations.


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Commercialisation updates on bio-based building blocks – nova-Institute publishes new trend report

With the many shifts in economic and political trends over the last year, many bio-based investments are focusing on the core of the bio-economy: bio-based building blocks and platform chemicals. nova-Institute’s preliminary market study “Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers – Global Capacities and Trends 2016 – 2021”, reports on seventeen building blocks with an estimated total production capacity of 2.4 million t in 2016, expected to reach 3.5 million t in 2021, and with a CAGR of 8 %. Commercialisation and development of these novel building blocks are discussed in more detail in the new nova-Institute trend report “Commercialisation Updates on Bio-Based Building Blocks”. The rise and wane of the markets for several established bio-based building blocks are also discussed fully including various technology processes, feedstock usage, supply/demand, and pricing whenever available for both incumbent petrochemicals and their bio-based chemical alternatives.


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Deciphering the silica/silane reaction mechanism for the development of a new generation of low rolling resistance tires – Part 1 – characterization by in situ IR spectroscopy

By use of suitable organic silanes and controlled mixing conditions, silica/silane systems have proven to be well suited for tire tread formulations with reduced rolling resistance. The bifunctional organosilane is able to react with the silica surface as well as with the polymer. However, silica compounds still present considerable difficulties in processing. The kneader is not only a mixing aggregate but has to fulfill the role of a chemical reactor. It is known from former studies, that the reaction between the silica and the silane is complex. It is up to now not sufficiently understood. Therefore, a better understanding would help many tire producers to control the mixing process more efficiently. Operando IR spectroscopy carried out in-situ during the reaction is the technique of choice to decipher the reaction.


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Hybrid cure systems for EPDM and EPM based on organic peroxide and accelerated sulfur

Peroxide crosslinking of ethylene-propylene copolymers (EPM) and ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymers (EPDM) is highly recommended for challenging high temperature applications. The resulting network has a strong crosslink density, consisting of rigid crosslinks, which makes these organic peroxide cured systems thermally stable. Often, such rigid crosslinks show the shortcoming of not being very flexible and not being reversible. This leads to noticeably lower tear strengths and elongation at break when compared to sulfur/accelerator system crosslinked elastomers. This article will show that hybrid cure systems based on combinations of peroxide and sulfur/accelerators can be fine-tuned to allow good processing properties as well as good mechanical properties. Furthermore, even fully saturated elastomers, like EPM, can be crosslinked with such a system, which leads to the formation of polysulfide crosslinks, resulting in significant positive changes in material properties. Could a hybrid cure recipe lead to materials with properties combining the best case scenario of the two worlds of peroxide and accelerated sulfur cure?


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EPDM compounding and mixing

Compounding EPDM is not an easy task to the compounder, with EPDM having so many different worldwide manufacturers and different grades with respect to Mooney viscosity, type of diene content, mole percentage of diene and ethylene propylene ­ratio. The mixing pattern of high viscosity grade EPDM with high filler and oil loading is typically different from that of any other polymer in the rubber industry.
This technical write up will try to discuss the compounding of a few typical EPDM based products and their mixing technology.


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Possibilities of energy-efficient mixing

For years now, energy consumption has been one of the main areas of growing concern for Phoenix production plants due to two main factors: The first factor is the increasing environmental awareness within society itself to conserve resources and to consume for that reason less energy. The other is the huge increase in energy costs that are forcing all businesses to save energy. These conditions are directly and seriously affecting the rubber industry, as it is very energy intensive. The production of compounds, the processing of the mixtures as well as vulcanisation are operations that involve a large amount of energy input. Therefore, comprehensive energy management is a task of very high importance. This article presents the most important measures to reduce helping compound manufacturers their energy consumption and to make use of potential savings.


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Compound development for rubber hoses

The basic principles of compounding and mixing have changed to some extent in the past 20 years, whether the compounds are mixed in China or abroad. However, due to working conditions and a growing number of synthetic polymers, elastomers, and TPEs, coupled with the need for greater productivity and better efficiency, new techniques and methods are continuously being developed and introduced. Indeed, the techniques necessary for the satisfactory mixing and compounding of qualities used in the hose industry are certainly highly variable. In this paper, the compound development and mixing process for the production of rubber hoses will be discussed and the related compound formulations for rubber hoses will be presented.


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Practical aspects of the influence of acrylic impact modifiers and ground calcium carbonate on the impact strength

Impact modifiers and functional fillers are crucial additives for many PVC applications such as window profiles, sidings and some specialized pipe applications. A high dosage is advantageous due to lower costs, however impact strength drops at a certain dosage of filler. Several publications deal with the single effect of either functional filler or acrylic impact modifier. According to the authors’ knowledge, only one paper considered the combination of AIM and ultra-fine precipitated calcium carbonate (uPCC) and a synergy between ultra-fine PCC and impact modifier was proposed. The aim of this paper is to investigate if there is an optimum dosage of AIM and ground calcium carbonate (GCC). The influence of particle size and thickness of shell of core-shell modifiers and the influence of interparticle distance of AIM and of GCC particles on impact strength are determined. It was also investigated if there might be a mathematical connection between Gardner and Charpy impact tests.


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Determination of the oxygen permeability of films – A cost efficient measuring method according to DIN 53380-5

Oxygen permeability is a selection criterion for packaging materials and it should be measured regularly. Fraunhofer IVV developed for the company PreSens a cost-efficient measuring method and measuring cells, which are now available on the market. Important validation results are presented.


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