Self-repairing rubber made from industrial waste

Materials World magazine
15 Jun 2020

A new rubber can be repaired and returned to original strength at room temperature in minutes, say researchers from Flinders University, Australia. The rubber, made from industrial waste products including sulphur, canola cooking oil and dicyclopentadience (DCPD) from petroleum refining, is also said to be suitable for recycling.

Researchers claim that the material can be developed with low-energy consumption for flexible, repairable and sustainable products such as vehicle tyres, and can also be used as a latent adhesive. Flinders University has collaborated with the University of Liverpool, UK, and the University of Western Australia to create the material.

Dr Tom Hasell, from the University of Liverpool, says, ‘The rubber bonds to itself when the amine catalyst is applied to the surface. The adhesion is stronger than many commercial glues. The polymer is also resistant to water and corrosion.’

‘It is exciting to see how the underlying chemistry of these materials has such wide potential in recycling, next-generation adhesives and additive manufacturing,’ says Justin Chalker, Associate Professor at Flinders University.

In addition to its practical applications, the research provides fundamental studies on the mechanisms of the rubber repair.