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 New technology for ultra-smooth polymer films
28.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Diamond watch components
18.06.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>