TOKYO (June 1, 2012)—Bridgestone Corp, said it has successfully polymerized small quantities of high-cis polyisoprene made from a bio-sourced isoprene monomer.
The company said it sourced the monomer from Ajinomoto Co, Inc., which produced it using fermentation technology from biomass raw material.
Natural rubber is cis 1,4 polyisoprene, so the material synthesized by Bridgestone is chemically similar to natural rubber. However, while the NR produced in trees is usually 100 percent cis, the material produced in chemical factories has a small percentage of trans isomers, which degrades the properties, Bridgestone said.
“Since synthetic polyisoprene rubber can replace NR in some cases, Bridgestone said it expects it to be one of the means of diversifying raw material sources for tires. The Japanese firm plans to promote IR bioengineering technologies while confirming its rubber properties and further enhancing polymerization catalyst technologies for developing IR with more advanced performance features.
The two companies agreed a year ago to jointly research synthetic rubber using new rubber raw materials and its applications as they embark on the research.