SOURCE: Lehigh Technologies

October 17, 2007 09:18 ET

Clemson University Study Shows Lehigh's Ultra-Fine Rubber Powder Ideal for Use in New Tires

PolyDyne Rubber Powder Is Chemically Active, Serves an Important Technical Function When Used in New Tires

CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwire - October 17, 2007) - Lehigh Technologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer of engineered rubber powder, today announced that its flagship PolyDyne™ rubber powder can be used as a chemically functioning element in the manufacture of new tires. This means that rubber powder used in the creation of new tires can add to the tire's real value, extending its use beyond just static filler. The research was done by the Department of Chemistry at Clemson University. Clemson University's Professor Dennis Smith and graduate student Madan Banda will be presenting the study at the American Chemical Society's Rubber Division's 172nd Technical Meeting and Business Summit at the Cleveland Convention Center, October 16-18, 2007. Lehigh is exhibiting in booths 761 and 1028d.

"There has been some question in terms of the extended use of ultra-fine rubber powder and its realistic functionality in new products," said Dennis W. Smith, Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Clemson University. "Our study illustrates that used tire rubber powder prepared by the Lehigh process is in fact unique and does offer a value-added reactivity and functionalization. Breakthrough results from electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) measurements indicate that the Lehigh process provides a significant increase in free radicals, which can bond to matrix resins or other application-specific substrates, extending the powder's usefulness beyond that of an added filler. With this study, tire manufacturers worldwide have a viable alternative ingredient that can be used to make 'green' tires, while at the same time enhancing the performance of the tire. We're confident that tire manufacturers will see the environmental and economical benefits that PolyDyne powder brings to the table."

Lehigh's patent-pending process for mechanical shearing and grinding of used tire rubber uses a cryogenic aided, turbo-shearing mill to produce rubber powder of controlled particle size and size distribution. In this process, a mechano-chemical effect is created, whereby primary covalent bonds (C-C, C-H and C-O) and secondary van der Waals or hydrogen bonds are ruptured, leading to partial devulcanization and the creation of free radical receptor sites on the surface of the vulcanizate rubber powder. These functional rubber compounds enable an increase in sulfur content, leading to greater cross-link density, resulting in improved tensile strength. The rubber powders obtained by this process can be incorporated into various polymer and rubber matrices with improved mechanical, physical and processing characteristics.

About Lehigh Technologies, Inc.

Lehigh Technologies provides engineered ultra-fine rubber powder that delivers enhanced performance, cost savings and environmental benefits, at a price point that is affordable and sustainable for low-to-high volume applications. Unlike crumb rubber recyclers and other suppliers in the past, Lehigh produces engineered performance fillers, modifiers and additives, enabling manufacturers across a variety of industries to include rubber powder as a strategic ingredient into their manufacturing process without compromising the integrity of their products. Headquartered in Naples, Florida, the company is privately held and backed by major private equity investors. For more information, please visit www.lehightechnologies.com.

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