Australian scientists develop new recyclable rubber material to repair itself on demand

Imagine if your car’s tires burst in the future, you’ll only need to apply a chemical to blend the rubber seamlessly together without having to replace a new tire,media new Atlas reported. That’s the breakthrough now reported by researchers at Flinders University in Australia, and even better, the material is made from waste and can be easily recycled.

Australian scientists develop new recyclable rubber material to repair itself on demand

The new material consists of more than 50% sulfur and is mixed with some rapeseed oil and a compound called dcyclic ethylene (DCPD). This unusual hybrid makes it a versatile and sustainable new type of rubber. But most curiously, the material is a “hidden adhesive”. The missing ingredient is an amine catalyst, and once applied, the rubber becomes sticky, allowing it to fully bind to itself without losing any strength.

“When amine catalysts are applied to the surface, rubber binds to itself,” said study author Tom Hasell. “This bond is stronger than many commercial glues. The polymer also has water and corrosion resistance. The team says the bonding can be done at room temperature in just a few minutes. This may make it useful when repairing rubber products such as tires, which are easier to recycle when their useful life is over.

Australian scientists develop new recyclable rubber material to repair itself on demand

In addition, as an added advantage, the three main ingredients that make these things are industrial waste. For example, DCPD is a by-product of petroleum refining. This means that it is cheap and environmentally friendly to produce this new material.

“This study sheds light on new concepts for the repair, adhesion and recycling of sustainable rubber,” said Justin Chalker, lead researcher on the study. “It’s exciting to see that the basic chemistry of these materials has such a wide range of potential for recycling, next-generation adhesives and additive manufacturing. “

The study was published in the journal Chemical Science. The team describes the work in the video below.