Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new indicator of natural rubber quality

24.05.2006


To strengthen the position of natural rubber in relation to its synthetic rival, a CIRAD team has just used an innovative technique to identify a new indicator of the quality of this noble material.



Natural rubber has properties that are still unsurpassed, and many specific uses: aircraft and truck tyres, vehicle engine supports, high-speed train suspension parts, industrial glues and adhesive tapes, elastic yarns, gloves, condoms, etc. However, it is a product of biological origin, which makes its properties more variable than those of its synthetic competitors. The challenge is thus to find relevant indicators of its quality, and to this end, it has proved necessary to look into its very structure.

Natural rubber differs from its synthetic counterparts through its more complex structure. When it is dissolved in a conventional solvent, the structure is gradually and partially destroyed. A certain proportion of the natural rubber remains insoluble. This fraction is commonly referred to as the gel phase (a network of reticulated polymers swollen with liquid), or as a macrogel. The soluble fraction contains rubber macromolecules and a variable quantity of microaggregates that make up a microgel. Gel has a major impact on the rheological properties of the material, and thus very probably on blending performance (blending being one of the natural rubber processing stages). CIRAD has thus studied various aspects of its macromolecular structure (links with rheological properties, gel formation mechanisms, etc).


To date, only macrogel has been quantifiable, but researchers are now also studying microgel. To this end, they have developed a methodology based on the size exclusion chromatography (SEC) technique. The solution containing the microgel is filtered and then centrifuged. This makes it possible to analyse macromolecular structure of and quantify the microgel. By providing a more comprehensive characterization of natural rubber structure, this research has opened the way for a clearer understanding of the links between that structure and the properties of the end product. This should result in the emergence of new, more relevant quality indicators than the criteria currently used.

The natural rubber currently used in industry comes from a singler species originating from South America, Hevea brasiliensis. Rubber trees are a veritable "green factory", producing an elastomer from a renewable energy source. It takes 0.4 TOE (tonnes of oil equivalent, or the energy produced by one tonne of oil) to produce one tonne of natural rubber, but 3.7 to 5 TOE to produce one tonne of synthetic rubber. At current consumption rates, using natural rubber thus saves around 20 million TOE, ie around 40% of annual consumption for transport purposes in France, or 3% of total annual oil consumption in the European Union.

Frédéric Bonfils | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cirad.fr/en/actualite/communique.php?id=444

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Etching Microstructures with Lasers
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>