ERJ staff report (LMH)
Oberhausen, Germany -- Researchers from the Fraunhofer UMSICHT Institute have discovered a way to recycle rubber residue from production waste so it can be used in high-quality, technical elastomer products.
Waste residues are often are only reusable for secondary products, such as modern playground surfaces and padded mats, the German research institute said. But scientists have now managed to develop new high-quality materials by adding elastomeric powders.
These new materials, known as elastomeric powder modified thermoplastics (EPMTs), can be modified with functional additive powders to achieve properties such haptics, hardness or elasticity, Fraunhofer claims. The compounds obtain the desired property through the elastomer powder and are processed into granulates in the compounder system, together with thermoplastics and additives.
Fraunhofer said the recycling of elastomers opens up new market perspectives and increases added value. The process also has an environmental benefit as it means production waste can be reused rather than disposed of.
The research was financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology (BMWi) as part of the EXIST research transfer programme.