E-SBR is predominantly used for the production of car tires, light truck tires and truck tire retread compounds. It presents good mechanical properties, abrasion, and tear resistance.
BUTADIENE RUBBERS (BR)
ARLANXEO is producer of a broad portfolio of Butadiene Rubbers marketed under the brand name BUNA®. The main applications of Butadiene Rubbers are in tires, due to the high resistance to wear, modification of Polystyrene to impart impact strength and mABS and golf balls due to high resilience.
For the manufacture of the BUNA® grades, ARLANXEO uses three catalyst systems which are all based on Ziegler-Natta polymerization. The different catalyst systems led to polymers with different microstructures (cis content) for optimal product properties for the different application requirements.
NEODYMIUM BUTADIENE RUBBER (Nd-BR)
ARLANXEO butadiene rubbers catalyzed by neodymium (Nd-BR grades) have a very high 1,4-cis content together with a very low 1,2-vinyl content, a relatively narrow molecular weight distribution and a low degree of branching. High-cis butadiene rubbers present a polymeric structure that enables remarkable improvements in the performance of rubber vulcanizates. Typical applications are in tire treads, conveyor belts, caterpillar tread blocks, golf balls, footwear soles and V-belts.
The BUNA® Nd EZ family of products is a new generation of high-cis butadiene rubbers that presents a modified polymeric structure enabling significant improvements in the processing performance of rubber compounds without sacrificing dynamic properties.
COBALT BUTADIENE RUBBER (Co-BR)
ARLANXEO butadiene rubbers catalyzed by cobalt (Co-BR grades) have a high 1,4-cis content combined with higher 1,2-vinyl content and a broader molecular weight distribution with an increased degree of branching that allows easy processing during the production of high-quality rubber goods. Typical applications are sidewall and tread compounds for tires, conveyor belts, golf balls and footwear soles.
LITHIUM BUTADIENE RUBBER (Li-BR)
ARLANXEO butadiene rubbers catalyzed by lithium (Li-BR grades) have a low 1,4-cis content with a linear polymer structure. These grades are typically used in classical tire formulations around the bead area of the tire.
ARLANXEO has a broad portfolio of butadiene rubbers which can be used for plastic modification. The portfolio for impact modifier applications contains Li-BR, with a low cis content as well as Nd-BR with a very high cis content to cover the different application requirements.
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Why making better tires gets us on the road toward a more sustainable future
So, what happens if a self-driving vehicle gets a flat tire? Future trends embracing smart mobility and efficient transportation require equality robust industry standards for things like tire performance.
Reliable and energy-efficient tires not only make for better cars but also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. It turns out it's all in the composition of the rubber used to make the tire. These materials play a major role in improving tire performance and reducing environmental impact.
Where the rubber meets the road
Tires are highly engineered composites. In fact, modern tire rubber only comprises about 10% natural rubber. Mixed in with the natural polymers are a range of synthetic polymers derived from petroleum oil like polyisoprene, poly(styrene-butadiene), polybutadiene and poly(isobutylene-isoprene). The latter are blended in with reinforcing fillers like silica, vulcanizing agents, sulfur, antioxidants, desiccants, and a range of processing oils.
ARLANXEO's BR polymer family, under the Buna® trade name, consist of polybutadiene rubbers from several different categories divided according to their polymerization process and application field.
There are many different layers and parts that go into manufacturing a tire. There's more than meets the eye. They play an important role in the dynamics of functions like steering, braking, and accelerating. So the chemical composition also helps improve safety. A typical passenger tire comes packed with over a dozen components and rubber formulations.
Some of the main goals in the chemical optimization of tire rubber are to achieve better, grip, mitigate tread wear and minimize rolling resistance.
The chemistry behind the sum of all parts
Understanding the anatomy of a tire goes a long way into understanding how they work and how they're manufactured. As a brief breakdown, apart from the tread, a tire comprises of several parts like the belts, sidewall, inner liner, bead, plies and shoulder.
ARLANXEO developed a specific modification and branching technology for Nd-BRs. These offer excellent low-temperature flexibility, abrasion resistance and reduced energy dissipation — offering a great solution for car tire tread compounds to reduce rolling resistance. Another set of grades, Buna® Nd EZ, a new generation of high-cis butadiene rubbers, can remarkably improve the processing performance of rubber compounds and provides high abrasion and flex-cracking resistance.
Beyond the tire
The Buna® BR portfolio also offers innovative solutions, such as CB Li-BR, for a broad range of applications beyond tires, including conveyor belts, footwear soles, and trackpads.
While the Nd-BRs are typically employed in the tire and rubber compounding industry or for sporting goods (e.g. golf balls — giving them high resilience), the Li-BR solution is mainly applied in plastic modification of high-impact polystyrene (HiPS) and mass-solution polymerized acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (mABS) industries..
BR performance is also important for solution-based applications such as impact modification of thermoplastics. Among those amorphous thermoplastic materials is HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene), also known as PS (Polystyrene). Used in low-heat applications, HIPS is a low-cost and tough plastic material often used in applications like food and consumer packaging, product signs and displays, as well as various industrial packaging. Your TV and computer housing as well as household appliance thermoformed linings and waste canisters are all examples of HIPS applications.
The tire industry is the main market segment for S-SBR. S-SBR offers improved wet grip and reduced rolling resistance — which translate to greater safety and better fuel economy.
ARLANXEO’s portfolio includes butadiene rubber products, branded as Buna, which are used in the tire industry and several non-tire applications like medical and pharmaceutical, gum, and plastic modification.