SOURCE: Lehigh Technologies

October 24, 2007 09:00 ET

Use of Recycled Rubber Powder Can Improve Performance Characteristics of Tire Rubber Compounds

Research Indicates That Proper Formulations Can Lead to Recycled-Content Tires With Performance Equal to or Better Than Conventional Tires

NAPLES, FL--(Marketwire - October 24, 2007) - Lehigh Technologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer of engineered rubber powder, today announced that its flagship PolyDyne recycled rubber powder can be used at 10% loadings in various tire compounds. By making modifications to the cure system and increasing the loadings, manufacturers can maintain or improve the performance characteristics of the compounds. A study conducted by Abdul Hadi, Senior Tire Chemist at Lehigh Technologies, and Donald L. Botka, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Lehigh Technologies, shows the impact of recycled rubber powder on improving air permeability in innerliner compounds by as much as 50%. Improved air retention in tires has been shown to increase both safety and fuel efficiency.

The study evaluated the impact of recycled rubber powder on various compounds by investigating both over-the-batch-weight incorporation of rubber powder as well as modified curative system incorporation. Compound testing was completed at the Akron Rubber Development Laboratory. The results were presented at American Chemical Society's Rubber Division's 172nd Technical Meeting and Business Summit held last week at the Cleveland Convention Center.

"The real breakthrough came in understanding that Lehigh's PolyDyne is an active ingredient," stated Don Botka, a longtime tire industry executive, "so if you simply add our rubber powder at high loadings on top of your compound -- it steals from the cure system. However, if you rebalance the cure system to accommodate our fine rubber powder, which is rich in RHC, you can restore key measures like tensile and elongation back to the levels of your original formulation."

As indicated by this experimental study, ultra fine scrap tire rubber powder can be used in most tire compounds as an active ingredient. It is cost effective and maintains original physical properties and performance. Loadings of 10% and higher are achievable in several compounds, and these levels maximize the advantages of utilizing recycled rubber powder.

"We work with several of the world's leading tire companies, but we do not share their names or technical data," stated Dennis Gormley, CEO of Lehigh Technologies. "We are excited by these findings because they enable us to hold an open discussion on the technical merits of incorporating Lehigh's recycled rubber powder back into the manufacture of new tires as we continue to highlight the tremendous economical and environmental benefits of doing so."

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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