Yokohama, in collaboration with Shinshu University, has made a breakthrough in the development of a resilient rubber material that is highly resistant to cracking.
This innovative crack-resistant material, crafted from tough nanoparticles, showcases a breakthrough in tyre and rubber production.
With the aim of creating safer and more durable products, researchers led by Associate Professor Daisuke Suzuki have developed a nanoparticle-based polymer that eliminates the need for traditional additives like organic solvents or reinforcing agents.
This advancement holds great promise for environmentally friendly solutions, as the rubber can be easily recycled without any loss in quality, contributing to the development of a circular economy.
To achieve this feat, the team employed mini-emulsion polymerisation, a well-known technique, to synthesize nanoparticle-based polymers. By utilising a dispersed aqueous solution of nanoparticles, they formed a nanoparticle film, or rubber material, through the evaporation of water.
The researchers went beyond conventional methods by introducing rotaxane molecules as crosslinking agents, enhancing crack resistance and imbuing the rubber with remarkable elasticity. This unconventional approach, devoid of additional additives, demonstrates the ingenuity and potential of this breakthrough.
Moreover, the nanoparticle films consisting solely of nanoparticles can be easily decomposed through immersion in a water-ethanol solution, minimising the environmental impact. By evaporating the highly volatile ethanol, the solution can be converted back into the dispersed aqueous nanoparticle solution, allowing for the straightforward regeneration of the nanoparticle film without compromising its quality. In layman’s terms, that’s how it is crack-resistant.
The research findings, recently published in Langmuir, a prestigious journal of the American Chemical Society, highlight the significance and potential applications of this pioneering development.
Aligned with the Yokohama company’s medium-term management plan, Yokohama Transformation 2023 (YX2023), they are committed to sustainability initiatives and prioritize “Caring for the Future.” By integrating its business activities with these principles, Yokohama Rubber aims to address societal challenges while enhancing its corporate value. They have embraced a three-pillar strategy focused on achieving carbon neutrality, fostering a circular economy, and promoting harmonious coexistence with nature.
In the pursuit of a circular economy, Yokohama is dedicated to the development of tyres that incorporate sustainable materials, positioning themselves at the forefront of eco-friendly innovations in the industry.
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