Elastomers and Polymers - Can the demand for improved sustainability be satisfied?

Organised by the Manchester Polymer Group, in conjunction with the Rubber in Engineering Group, this webinar will highlight the latest developments and progress made in meeting the challenge of improving the carbon footprint of elastomers and polymers.

The challenges for those working in these sectors to meet those expectations will be covered in different applicational areas.

We are pleased to announce that Dr Helen Czerski, the renowned physicist, oceanographer and television presenter will open the proceedings to bring the audience her views on sustainability.

13:30   Welcome
Dr Clive Fenn, Chairman, MPG

Keynote Presentation
Perspective, polymers and a planet: what next for sustainability?

Dr Helen Czerski, UCL

Growing up in a 1980s household full of polymer samples and materials catalogues was unusual, it turns out. But it gave me an insight into how industry worked at that time, and how products and supply chains were built. I discovered the ocean years later and by accident, since it was never a topic of conversation in Manchester during my childhood, and my job is now to study ocean processes. In the intervening years we’ve learned a lot about how our planet works, and how the infrastructure of our civilisation has affected it. I will talk about the new perspective this has given us, and the fundamental principles that link the future of materials science with the future of planet Earth.


AFLAS® FEPM Lamination to Other Elastomers for Automotive Hose Applications
Chris Kent, AGC Chemicals Europe

As demands on internal combustion engines become stronger, conditions become harsher. High-temperature coolant in turbochargers, breakdown components of engine oils, and alkaline additives, can all reduce the lifetime of hoses. AFLAS® performs well under these conditions, but conventional grades are difficult to bond to other elastomers and a whole AFLAS® hose is an expensive solution. A newly-developed grade allows colamination, providing the option to create less-expensive hoses without sacrificing performance.


Air gases in Rubber Recycling
Rob Dent, BOC Ltd

With an ever increasing focus on environmental sustainability, emissions and recycling the problem of how to reuse, recycle and reformulate the almost half a million tonnes of tyres that are destined for landfill each year becomes an ever more pressing one. This presentation explores how employing air gases, in various processes and forms, can aid this industry.




An ‘anti-rubber’ elastomer
Shruti Mandhani, Sheffield Hallam University

Auxetic behaviour is characterised in terms of Poisson's Ratio (). Most materials - like rubber - have a positive Poisson’s ratio, i.e. they expand laterally under compression and contract under tension. Some materials, however, behave opposite to this and have a negative Poisson’s ratio. Such materials are called ‘auxetic’ – or even ‘anti-rubber’ - and undergo lateral expansion when stretched longitudinally, and lateral contraction when compressed longitudinally. This counter-intuitive behaviour offers desirable material properties like high indentation resistance, fracture toughness, high energy absorption, and double curvature.


Sustainability in the carbon black industry
Dr. Gilles Moninot, Birla Carbon 

The carbon black industry may seem like an unlikely place to find a leader in sustainability, but at Birla Carbon, Sustainability is a constant aspiration. Sustainability is a foundational aspect of their business as represented by their vision ‘to be the most respected, sustainable, and dynamic carbon black business’. Gilles Moninot, Global Director of Sustainability at Birla Carbon, will present the holistic perspective and pragmatic approach Birla Carbon has taken to integrating Sustainability into their business. He will share the value realized through Birla Carbon’s Sustainable Operational Excellence strategy from an Environmental Stewardship point of view and how they are adopting the principles of a circular economy.


University New developments in biodegradable agricultural films
Dr Rob Elias, BioComposites Centre, Bangor

Mulch films are important for improving yields and protecting crops from pests and droughts. However, their end of life fate is of concern with high levels of microplastic soil contamination being measured in China. This project is seeking to develop a new range of biobased and biodegradable polymers that can be easily adapted to different climatic conditions in China and Northern Europe. Project updates will include technical data from recent field trials in UK and China.


Closing Remarks
Dr Clive Fenn, Chairman, MPG