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How an additive can pave the road for recycling

Evonik Industries owns a multi-million tyre production facility in South Carolina.

Specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries has further enhanced its special additive called Vestenamer to boost recycled rubber applications.

Vestenamer allows used rubber to be recycled ‘much more efficiently’ into ‘tough materials’ suitable for road construction. Other uses include rubber flooring for sports clubs and playgrounds.

‘As a process additive Vestenamer improves the flowability of the rubber compound,’ says Dr. Peter Hannen, market development manager of Evonik Industries. ‘As a result, the material can be processed much more efficiently. The reactivity and polymer structure of Vestenamer are also important here: both lead to a good network density between the rubber particles. This in turn positively impacts the mechanical properties.’

A good use for old tyres

Moreover, Hannen argues the additive is part of the answer to the ‘global scrap tyre problem’. The world generates a total of 19.3 million tonnes of used tyres every year. In Europe alone, the number is at 3.6 million tonnes already.

tyres, recycling, rubber, Germany, additives, chemicals, road

At the start of the millennium, more than half of all these tyres were sent to incineration plants in Germany to generate energy. This left only one in ten end-of-life tyres for recycling into rubber granulate. However, the portion of tyres being reprocessed into granulates has ‘caught up’ with incineration in recent years. As such, Evonik Industries is confident its additive can help close the materials loop for rubber.

The German town of Paderborn was the first to receive a ‘test track’ made with Vestamer. For every 100 metres of track, around 80 used tyres were turned into an elastomer-modified road surface. Evonik Industries ensured the old asphalt was recycled.

See for yourself

The recycling enhancing additive will be presented at this year’s K Show in Düsseldorf, Germany. The event will take place from 16-23 October. Evonik Industries can be found at booth B28 in hall 6.

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