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Published on June 1, 2005

RECYCLING OF CURED FLUOROELASTOMER FOR COST CONTROL AND IMPROVED PERFORMANCE

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Date Published June 1, 2005
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Fluoroelastomer (FKM) rubber was developed for the U.S. space programs of the 1950’s and 60’s. The first material to touch the moon in Apollo 11 was Neil Armstrong’s boot made from FKM. The material was designed to be the ultimate sealing material for the relatively unknown but assumed to be aggressive environments of outer space. Now forty years later automotive and industrial markets still use some form of fluoroelastomer rubber in applications where seal failure is not an option. The FKM market is now mature with a world wide demand nearing 25,000 metric tons. Global competition and improved processing efficiencies have reduced the cost of the product significantly especially for the larger users. Waste streams from FKM producers are considered the next opportunity to further reduce these costs.