AKRON—Guayule and TKS are substantially different from each other, but both hold great promise as home-grown substitutes for Hevea natural rubber from Southeast Asia, according to a speaker at the International Tire Exhibition and Conference in Akron Sept. 9-11.
“Guayule is a softer, stretchier material than Hevea or TKS,” said Katrina Cornish, endowed chair and Ohio Research Scholar for Bioemergent Materials at Ohio State University.
While guayule holds promise for use in tire components, its outstanding quality is that it can make a thin hypoallergenic film polymer ideal for rubber gloves and other medical devices, Cornish said.
“You can actually forget you're wearing a guayule glove, they're so comfortable,” she said.
On the other hand, TKS—also known as the Russian dandelion or Buckeye Gold—is much closer to Hevea in its properties, according to Cornish.
TKS holds immense promise in tire manufacturing but contains many of the same allergy-causing proteins as Hevea, so that TKS rubber would have to be leached and treated before it could be used for medical devices, she said.