Fields of work
Environment-friendly vulcanisation chemistry
Although zinc oxide is regarded as environmentally hazardous and very toxic to aquatic organisms, there was till now no alternative in the sulfur crosslinking of rubber products to the use of zinc oxide. Usage of zinc-containing hydrotalcites can reduce the zinc content in the vulcanisates to a tenth of the current rate. Simultaneously, these additives act as reinforcing agents and enable also the production of transparent rubber materials.
High performance materials for better energy efficiency and CO2-saving
Composite materials made of rubber and reinforcements are widely used in industry and society. As part of a joint project with relevant industry partners, further opportunities are given to technical elastomers, such as automotive (belts, air springs, hoses) to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to a longer lifetime at higher temperatures, improvements in chemical resistance (use of biofuels are to be expected) and permeability, lead to a reduction of the impact on the environment by greenhouse gases. In addition, these materials developments are also applicable to other industrial applications and industries.
Employment of ionic liquids for compatibilisation of carbon nanotubes with polymer matrix
In order to ensure better rubber / carbon nanotube (CNT) compatibility and to enhance the dispersibility, a series of ionic liquids has been tested in regard to an improved interaction between rubber and carbon nanotubes. Dynamic mechanical analysis confirm the specific interaction of CNTs and diene rubber chains by showing an extra relaxation process at relatively higher temperature in the temperature sweep measurements. Raman spectroscopic analysis also support the specific interaction between CNTs and rubber molecules. Transmission electron microscopic images confirm the good dispersion of the CNTs along with a ‘cellular’-like structure of the CNTs in the rubber matrix.
A fully equipped laboratory for the production and characterization of elastomeric materials is available.