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Liquid rubber technology

Kuraray’s technical manager Marcel Gruendken discusses the advantages of liquid rubber technology in enhancing tire properties and rubber processability

 

Please tell us about the liquid rubbers developed at Kuraray.
Kuraray is a producer of specialty chemicals. The development of Kuraray’s liquid rubber (KLR) was driven by our desire to transition from solid polyisoprene (IR) to liquid polyisoprene for improved rubber properties. This development dates back to the early 1970s when the isoprene rubber market was becoming more commoditized. Kuraray launched its liquid rubber as a niche product and high value-added material.

What are the benefits of these liquid rubbers?
Kuraray’s liquid rubbers function as reactive plasticizers but have far higher molecular weight than normal plasticizers. They are co-vulcanizable and reduce migration significantly, which improves the product’s shelf life. This property is valued highly in the tire industry. While improving the processability of rubber compounding in tires, KLR enhances the performance of tires greatly by simultaneously controlling the balance of grip, fuel efficiency and wear resistance.

What are their key properties?
The material is mainly used as a structural and functional additive for high performance rubbers to meet customer needs. The key properties are molecular weight and a unique structure. This includes copolymer content, hydrogenation, and vinyl content or functionalized groups. Kuraray’s liquid rubber has a narrow molecular weight distribution which comes from our synthesizing technologies. KLR provides customers with the largest amount of possibilities for molecular designs with narrower molecular weight distribution.

Are any changes in the mixing process required?
Once Kuraray liquid rubber is in the mixing stage it is easily processed. Due to its high viscosity, it is ready packed in polyolefin pouches (e.g. 2kg), which can be poured directly into the mixer. Another option is to prepare liquid rubber in pre-heated drums to reduce the viscosity.

1 June, 2016

 

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