Implications of the Use of Silica as Active Filler in Passenger Car Tire Compounds on Their Recycling Options
Tires are an important vehicle component, as car handling, safety and fuel economy depend for a major part on the tire composition and construction. As a consequence, tires are improved continuously. The most prominent improvement in the recent past was the use of a silica-silane filler system in passenger car tread compounds, instead of traditionally used carbon black. For recycling and re-use of end-of-life car tire rubber one of the most promising recycling methods is devulcanization: re-plasticizing the vulcanized rubber by selectively breaking the sulfur bridges between the polymer molecules. In the present paper, the influence of silica, which is present in the passenger car tires granulate, on both devulcanization and subsequent revulcanization, is investigated. In a step-wise approach it is shown that the presence of silica influences both devulcanization and revulcanization. The best tensile strength of the revulcanizate, using a carbon-black-based revulcanization formulation, was 5 MPa. This could be improved to 6.5 MPa by using 2.8 phr of 1,3-DiPhenylGuanidine (DPG) in the revulcanization formulation. After addition of a silanization step during revulcanization by adding 3.2 phr bis[3-(TriEthoxySilyl)Propyl] Tetrasulfide (TESPT), a silane, to the formulation, the tensile strength of the revulcanizate was further improved to 8 MPa. With these results it is shown that the silica in the granulate can be used to improve the revulcanization properties. To check the benefits of using pure tire tread material for the devulcanization and subsequent revulcanization, of both a carbon black and a silica-based virgin tread compound, it is shown that a tensile strength of the revulcanizate of 13 MPa can be reached. This shows the potential of devulcanized rubber when the various tire components are separated before whole car tire material is granulated as the beginning of the recycling.
Publication date: 01/03/2019
Author: Johannes W. van Hoek
Reference: doi: 10.3390/ma12050725