At the International Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, ContiTech presents promising research results for mounting elements based on the so-called »Taraxagum«, a natural rubber extracted from dandelions. Together with Continental and since 2013, scientists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology of Plants (IBBP) at the University of Münster have been exploring how dandelions could be used in a sustainable way as an alternative source of rubber for the rubber processing industry. In the context of this project, Continental Reifen GmbH has already successfully tested car tire prototypes.
ContiTech Vibration Control developers are now testing if natural rubber made from dandelions might also be used to reduce engine vibrations. At the IAA ContiTech presents first and promising research findings for a possible application in mounting elements in vehicles. The natural rubber is supposed to adapt the elements to different applications in gearbox and enginge mounts and at the same time make the parts durable.
They bear static loads, insulate the structure-borne sound, limit the movement of the engine, and prevent it from tearing off in the event of an accident. They also damp vibrations and impacts that come from the roads.
»The demands on engine mounts are completely different to those on tires. For example, we have to cope with heavy dynamic loads at high temperatures. This means that the focus of our developments is different to that of our tire colleagues,« says Dr. Anna Misiun, who leads the research activities of the project at ContiTech. Regardless of the different products for which dandelion rubber might be used, it always implies considerable environmental benefits.
Better CO2 balance of the raw material,
greater independence from market fluctuations
Professor Dirk Prüfer and Dr. Christian Schulze Gronover of the Fraunhofer IME and the IBBP: »The plant is extremely resilient, able to grow in moderate climates and even in soil that is not suited for the cultivation of food and feed crops. Thus, there is no need for transportation from tropical countries. This improves the CO2 balance of the raw material considerably.« Moreover, the greater independence from traditional raw materials with sometimes highly fluctuating market prices also offers advantages for the industry.
The development of an environmentally and resource friendly production process for natural rubber on an industrial scale is the overarching objective of the collaboration of the scientists from Continental and Fraunhofer IME. This objective has already come a lot closer with the development of a laboratory-scale pilot plant for the extraction of natural rubber from the roots of the Russian dandelion – and with the production of corresponding tire prototypes.
In tests under summer and winter conditions, those tires performed just as well as tires made with rubber tree caoutchouc. For their achievements, the scientists involved were awarded with a Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Prize 2015th. Now, the production is to be scaled up so that it finally works for industrial use, measured in tons. With that, in rubber production, the «blowball« develops to an ecologically and economically very attractive alternative to the tropical rubber tree.
However, it will still take several years until industrial production can start. »First, the homework has to be done: The plant needs to be further optimized. For the highest possible rubber yield, for sowing, planting and rubber extraction on a large scale,« say the two scientists.
Sabine Dzuck | Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Oekologie IME
New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries
22.03.2017 | Yale University
Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold
22.03.2017 | Rice University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences