(Nanowerk News) In its continued focus to utilize carbon nanomaterials to revolutionize advanced materials, Zyvex Technologies announced today, at Nanotech 2012 in Tokyo, the introduction of its advanced rubber technology, Zyvex Molecularly Engineered Rubber or ZyMER®.
ZyMER is a distinct nano-engineered rubber technology using chemistry that allows carbon nanotubes to be inserted inside a rubber compound for added strength and improved conductive properties of elastomers. After six years of researching, developing, and refining manufacturing processes with companies such as APV Engineered Coatings®, and also one of the largest providers of products and services to the energy industry, results demonstrate ZyMER to be highly effective in manufacturing environments for industrial applications, such as gaskets and belts. Other customer collaboration efforts are focused on additional rubber products, such as improved efficiency for tires in the automotive market.
Industry currently has a limited set of tools to enhance the mechanical or electrical properties of rubber compounds. Traditional additives, such as carbon black or silver, cannot provide improved mechanical or electrical properties without reducing the elastic properties that make rubber desirable. Using ZyMER, engineers, designers and manufacturers do not have to compromise when developing stronger or more conductive rubber formulations. Using three rubber compounds --SBR, NBR, and FKM (flouroelastomers) -- results demonstrate (depending on the loading level of ZyMER):
Surface resistivity of 10(6) - 10(7) ohms/cm
Tear strength improvements of 30-40%
Tensile modulus (stiffness) improvements of 50-60%
The industry is evolving to help improve manufacturing outputs as products are upgraded. Long term, industrial engineers and designers can benefit from access to nanomaterials in the products they develop. Two-thirds of the world's rubber is synthetic. Synthetic rubber's increased adoption is from developments that make the production more efficient, less costly, and with less pollution to the environment.(1)
"If we as a manufacturer can significantly increase our customers' assembly line speed, reduce maintenance costs and increase the performance of rubber products, we can revolutionize an age-old industry," said Michael Phillips, plant manager, APV Engineered Coatings. "If production can be increased as a direct result of stronger, more conductive rubber, while enhancing the performance of the end-product, the industry is going to make monumental strides. We're confident our customers will experience all of these benefits when using nano-enhanced technology," noted Phillips.
"Zyvex is widely recognized as the first nanotechnology venture. The company and its spin-offs have pioneered the development of a wide range of innovations including a family of nanomaterials that are now well established in the supply chain for nano-enabled products," said Michael Tomczyk, the managing director for the Mack Center of Technological Innovation at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Mike Nemeth, director commercial and defense applications for Zyvex Technologies, said, "When you start to engineer materials at the atomic level like we do, a whole realm of possibilities opens up. We are excited to be the first to commercialize molecularly engineered rubber that allows our customers to easily take advantage of the properties of carbon nanomaterials."
The American rubber industry has become the largest and the most technologically advanced in the world.(2) The automotive market, rubber's largest consumer, has become a big proponent in using renewable-based materials - not only for tires, but also for other auto components.(3) According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, U.S. tire shipments increased 10 percent in 2010. Tires are losing the commodity label, as greater emphasis is made on branding and major innovations in rubber.
Nemeth added, "With its versatility, ZyMER is available for a variety of compounds—offering clear flexibility within a vast amount of industries. Specific customer formulations are being developed for other portions of the market, such as butyl rubber." Industry leaders are contacting Zyvex to discuss applications for ZyMER additives that have already been developed and also for custom formulation development.
Trends and legislation in the tire industry that have fueled innovations in the polymer industry are(4):
Usage of lightweight materials
Tire durability and performance
Tire-labeling and rolling resistance legislation
The "Go green" theme that has brought eco-friendly materials to the forefront.
About Zyvex Technologies
Zyvex Technologies unlocks the power of carbon nanomaterials. Headquartered in Columbus, OH, with facilities in Texas, South Dakota, and Washington, Zyvex Technologies was the first company to bring nano-enhanced products to the marketplace. Their commercially proven technology makes products stronger, lighter, tougher and more electrically conductive. Visit booth E-36 at Nanotech 2012 in Tokyo or www.zyvextech.com to learn more.
2 United States Synthetic Rubber Program, 1939-1945, http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=929&content_id=CTP_004465&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=18e27caf-9182-4691-80c0-40028e085cea (2012)
3 Doris de Guzman, Momentum builds for the development of bio-based chemicals for rubber manufacture, http://www.icis.com/Articles/2011/07/01/9481223/rubber-industry-seeks-bio-based-chemicals-potential.html (July 29, 2011)
4 K. Deepan Kannan Shree Vidhya Karunanidhi, Polymer and rubber innovation lighten environmental impact of automobiles, http://www.icis.com/Articles/2010/10/25/9403881/polymer-and-rubber-innovation-lighten-environmental-impact-of.html (October 22, 2010)