OBERHAUSEN,Germany—Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology inOberhausenhave developed a process using recycled scrap rubber as a modifier for plastics.
The rubber is used in ratios of 60 to 80 percent, the institute said. Products such as lawnmower wheels, splashguards and suchlike are being tested at potential customer facilities.
The research focuses on technical rubber products, such as profiles, sealing rings and rubber mats.
The objective of the research work is to systematically analyze elastomers in powder and granulate form to optimize the recycling of rubber residues, because the elastomers in powder and granulate form can be used as functional additives, the institute said. Such additives provide plastics compounds with the desired properties such as haptics, hardness or elasticity.
By adding elastomeric powder, the institute said has developed high-quality plastics compounds, called elastomeric powder modified thermoplastics. The materials are undergoing application tests at industry customers.
The new plastics compounds are processed into granulates in the compounder system, together with thermoplastics and additives. These in return can be processed on thermoplastic processing equipment, the institute said.