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21. February 2019

Life-time recycling loops for elastomer products

The need for life-time recycling loops for all kinds of products is steadily increasing. Tires and rubber products prove no exception. A recent paper from the University of Twente describes the devulcanization of rubber articles including tires of various sorts. It highlights what has been achieved for different major rubber types, but also what hurdles are to be overcome before rubber recycling is as obvious a technology as the manufacturing of first use rubber-articles.

Ideally only the sulfur bridges are broken up in the devulcanization process while the polymer chains stay intact.

Ideally only the sulfur bridges are broken up in the devulcanization process while the polymer chains stay intact.

Life-time recycling loops for elastomer products: state-of-the-art
W. M. Noordermeer, W. Dierkes, A. Blume, H. van Hoek, L. A. E. M. Reuvekamp, S. Saiwari
RFP Rubber Fibres Plastics 01|2019

With depletion of natural resources and growing awareness of the limited capabilities of the globe to cope with pollution, the need to design life-time recycling loops for all types of products is steadily increasing. Rubber articles of all sorts and the need for a proper disposal of these at the end of their life-cycle cannot escape this trend, and also come more and more into focus. Most conspicuous in this context are tires, of which approximately 800 million are scrapped world-wide on a yearly basis. If piled up at a height of 25 cm each, it establishes a pile of 200,000 km, 2/3 of the distance to the moon: per year! Apart from the environmental problems which these scrap tires represent, they actually are also a source of valuable materials if they can be recycled and reused in proper ways. The present paper reviews latest developments in rubber recycling: devulcanization of rubber articles, including tires of various sorts, and the contribution which the research at the University of Twente has made in this field. It highlights what has been achieved for different major rubber types, but also what the hurdles are to be taken before rubber recycling is as obvious a technology as the manufacturing of first use rubber-articles.

Citation:
J. W. M. Noordermeer, W. Dierkes, A. Blume, H. van Hoek, L. A. E. M. Reuvekamp, S. Saiwari; RFP Rubber Fibres Plastics 01|2019, 24-30.

www.gupta-verlag.com/magazines/rfp-rubber-fibres-plastics-international/01-2019

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