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Rubber


— Automotive

Bridgestone tests Russian dandelion as raw material for tire rubber

Taraxacum officinale, or dandelion, the herb used for tea and salads, is an excellent liver tonic and diuretic. But there’s another variety of dandelion known as Russian dandelion, aka Taraxacum kok-saghyz, which Bridgestone Americas is researching as raw material to make high-quality rubber for car tires. After preliminary tests, the company said it will continue to assess the material at its technical laboratories in Akron and Tokyo in coming months, and will follow that with larger-scale testing in 2014. Read More
— Sports

De Soto uses limestone for its T1 Wetsuits

Over the past few years an unlikely material has found its way into wetsuits: limestone. One would think that using rock to create rubber might cause a wearer to sink, but the porous yet closely-packed cells found in a limestone-based rubber is said to make the wearer more buoyant. De Soto Sports, a San Diego-based company that makes clothing and gear for triathlons, developed its own brand of limestone-based rubber, GreenGoma, to use in its wetsuits. Starting with the 2012 line, which first hit stores this past fall, all of the company's T1 wetsuits are made with GreenGoma, which eliminates the use of petroleum products in the line. Read More
— Environment

Tires could be on the road to a greener future

According to the American Chemical Society, seven gallons of crude oil go into each one of approximately a billion car tires that are produced every year worldwide. Today, however, scientists announced a development that could drastically reduce oil usage in tires. It involves isoprene, a hydrocarbon that is currently obtained as a by-product from refining crude oil, and that is a key ingredient in the production of synthetic rubber. Using sugars from renewable sources such as sugar cane, corn or switchgrass, the scientists have been able to create a “green” isoprene, trademarked as BioIsoprene. They expect it could start being used to produce tires within five years. Read More
— Environment

Rubber trailing edge flaps could result in quieter, more productive wind farms

If you’ve ever seen a commercial-scale wind turbine in real life, then you’ll know that they’re huge – a single blade can be as long as 60 meters (197 feet). Researchers from Denmark’s Risoe DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy tell us that such blades can flex by up to six meters (20 feet) when subjected to strong wind gusts. Worse yet, the gust load is often not evenly distributed along the length of the blade, so it doesn’t flex evenly. Fortunately, the researchers are working on addressing this problem, by attaching flexible flaps to the trailing edges of the blades. These flaps come in the form of silicone rubber strips, which run the length of the blade. The result, we’re told, will be quieter, higher-output turbines. Read More
— Environment

Old tires find new life in cow mattresses

Cows have it hard. They’re bred to be empty-headed, they have to stand outside in the heat and cold, extraterrestrials occasionally do nasty things to them, and ... well, we won’t talk about what ends up happening to many of them. It’s nice, therefore, to see someone cutting the cows a break. Champagne Edition Inc, based out of Alberta, Canada, manufactures mattresses for the comfort and health of cattle. What’s more, they make the mattresses out of old tires, that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Read More
— Automotive

Cheaper, more fuel-efficient tires? Wooden it be good

Making tires from wood might seem like an idea that would be more at home on the Flintstones than in the early 21st Century, but that’s just what a team of wood science researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) are proposing. They aren’t suggesting constructing the tires solely from wood, but replacing silica with microcrystalline cellulose derived from plant fiber as a reinforcing filler in the manufacture of rubber tires. The result could be a tire that would cost less, perform better and save on fuel and energy. Read More
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