Inspired by nature, Chinese scientists have produced a synthetic analogue to vulcanized natural rubber.
Their material is just as tough and durable as the original. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, they reveal the secret to their success: short protein chains attached to the side-chains of the polymer backbone ensure stable physical cross-linkage and give the material a “self-reinforcing” effect under strain. In contrast to conventional rubbers, it is much easier to recycle.
Natural rubber consists of a variety of elastic polymers that are processed for use in tires, the automobile industry, and commodities like rubber mattresses. Although some synthetic rubbers, the polyisoprenes, have the same main-chain structure as natural rubber, vulcanized natural rubbers are still clearly superior because they are significantly stronger and tougher. The reason for this is a spontaneous “self-reinforcing” effect, a reversible stiffening of the material under mechanical strain. This phenomenon is known as strain crystallization. It is known that special polar components—noncovalently bound proteins and phospholipids—at the ends of the polymer chains play a role in this high degree of toughness.
Functionalization of the ends of the chains could be one means of improving the mechanical properties of synthetic rubbers, but suitable synthetic methods have been in short supply. Researchers led by Yun-Xiang Xu and Guangsu Huang at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, have now found a technique. By using an already established catalytic system based on rare-earth elements and special, stabilized precursors, they successfully produced very long polymer chains of isoprene units with a high degree of cis-linkage within the backbone and a large number of side-chains with polar hydroxyl groups at the end. The idea was to mimic natural rubber by attaching biomolecules to these hydroxyl groups to provide physical cross-linkage of the polymer chains.
Inspired by the high stability and strength of spider silk, the researchers chose to use short polymer chains (oligopeptides) made of four molecules of the amino acid alanine. It is known that such oligoalanines form accordion-like ?-sheet structures that constitute the hard components of silk, providing it with strength and thermal stability.
Because peptide and polyisoprene chains are not miscible, the peptide chains preferentially aggregate together. This effect results in the desired physical cross-linkage of the polyisoprene chains. The strength and toughness of the new synthetic rubbers increase greatly without compromising their elasticity. In addition, the material demonstrates significant self-reinforcement through strain crystallization. Its properties correspond well to those of vulcanized natural rubber.
Because conventional vulcanization is not needed in this process, the recyclability of these novel high-performance polyisoprene rubbers is significantly improved. In this way, the vast quantities of poorly recyclable rubber dumped in landfills or burned at high cost to the environment may be reduced in the future.
Learn more: Proteins for Making Tough Rubber
The Latest on: Synthetic rubber
via Google News
The Latest on: Synthetic rubber
- Synthetic Rubber Market Size – Industry Analysis, Share, Growth, Trends, Top Key Players and Regional Forecast 2020-2026on February 26, 2021 at 2:20 pm
Feb 26, 2021 (Market Insight Reports) -- Selbyville, Delaware, Market Study Report LLC: The Report 2020-2026 Global Synthetic Rubber Market Report explores the essential factors of the Synthetic ...
- Michelin promises 100% sustainability by 2050: To make tyres out of recycled, biosourced materialson February 25, 2021 at 9:04 pm
Michelin announced in February 2021 that it will launch the construction of its first tyre recycling plant in the world with Enviro, which has a patented tech to recover carbon black, pyrolysis oil, ...
- Best yoga mats of 2021on February 25, 2021 at 12:05 pm
We tested yoga mats from brands like Lululemon and Manduka to find the best of the best. We found the best yoga mats for any sort of practice, whether you're a beginner or a hot yoga fanatic.
- Mitsubishi Chemical buys land in Geismar for $1 billion planton February 25, 2021 at 9:39 am
Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., a subsidiary of Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors, filed paperwork with the state economic development agency for its proposed $1 billion methyl methacrylate plant in ...
- Bridgestone claims 'novel' polymer advance under 'TechSyn' collaborationon February 24, 2021 at 6:51 am
"novel" tire polymers that Bridgestone claims will allow it to improve tread life and cut rolling resistance without impacting other performance parameters. The collaboration, which the partners are ...
- Global Agricultural Food Grade Rubber Conveyor Belt Market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period of 2018–2028on February 24, 2021 at 4:34 am
Agricultural Food Grade Rubber Conveyor Belt Market Report Description This FMI study offers a ten year analysis and forecast for the global agricultural food grade rubber conveyor belt market between ...
- Global Automotive Fluid Transfer System Markets Report 2021-2025on February 23, 2021 at 4:30 am
The "Fluid Transfer System Market by Type (Brake, Fuel, AC, Air Suspension, DPF, SCR, Transmission Oil, Turbo Coolant, Engine & Battery Cooling, Air Brake), Material (Al, Rubber, Nylon, Steel, ...
- Global Synthetic Rubber Market Size | Opportunities and Challenges, By Deployment, Capability, Equipment and End User Analysis by 2027on February 22, 2021 at 11:09 pm
Pre & Post Covid-19 Impact and Recovery Analysis (Estimates) is Covered in Synthetic Rubber Market Research Report. "Global Synthetic Rubber market size is expected to gain market growth in the ...
- 2/3rd of Industrial Rubber Demand Stimulated by Synthetic Butyl Rubber: Fact.MRon February 17, 2021 at 6:47 am
ROCKVILLE, MD / ACCESSWIRE / February 17, 2021 / Fact.MR’s global industrial rubber market report offers an in-depth coverage on the growth landscape for the 2021-2031 assessment period. The report ...
via Bing News