Tokyo – Bridgestone Corp has developed “the world’s first polymer to bond rubber and resins at the molecular level,” the company announced 22 June.
The new polymer is claimed to offer “unprecedented durability” with crack-resistance over five times higher, abrasion resistance over 2.5 times higher, and tensile strength more than 1.5 times higher than natural rubber.
The newly developed ‘high strength rubber’ (HSR), is described as a hybrid material: bonding synthetic-rubber components such as butadiene and isoprene, with resin components such as ethylene at the molecular level.
The production process uses Bridgestone’s proprietary gadolinium (Gd) catalyst via copolymerisation, said the company’s press release.
According to Bridgestone, it developed the polymer by “further evolving” Gd (gadolinium) catalyst technologies used to synthesise polyisoprene rubber.
This, said the company, has allowed for the next-generation material to combine the pliability of rubber with the toughness of resin.
Target applications, noted Bridgestone, include future tires with higher performance and less material than to current tires.
The company also anticipates that HSR will help it towards 100% sustainable materials goals set for 2050.