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Concept: Vulcanization


Because tires contain approximately 1-2% zinc by weight, zinc leaching is an environmental concern associated with civil engineering applications of tire crumb rubber. An assessment of zinc leaching data from 14 studies in the published literature indicates that increasing zinc leaching is associated with lower pH and longer leaching times, but the data display a wide range of zinc concentrations, and do not address the effect of crumb rubber size or the dynamics of zinc leaching during flow through porous crumb rubber. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of crumb rubber size using the Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure (SPLP), the effect of exposure time using quiescent batch leaching tests, and the dynamics of zinc leaching using column tests. Results indicate that zinc leaching from tire crumb rubber increases with smaller crumb rubber and longer exposure time. Results from SPLP and quiescent batch leaching tests are interpreted with a single-parameter leaching model that predicts a constant rate of zinc leaching up to 96 hr. Breakthrough curves from column tests displayed an initial pulse of elevated zinc concentration (~3 mg/L) before settling down to a steady-state value (~0.2 mg/L), and were modeled with the software package HYDRUS-1D. Washing crumb rubber reduces this initial pulse but does not change the steady-state value. No leaching experiment significantly reduced the reservoir of zinc in the crumb rubber.

Concepts: Time, Concentration, Shutter speed, Synthetic rubber, Vulcanization, The Crumbs, Tire, Crumb rubber


Invented by Charles Goodyear, chemical cross-linking of rubbers by sulphur vulcanisation is the only method by which modern automobile tyres are manufactured. The formation of these cross-linked network structures leads to highly elastic properties, which substantially reduces the viscous properties of these materials. Here, we describe a simple approach to converting commercially available and widely used bromobutyl rubber (BIIR) into a highly elastic material with extraordinary self-healing properties without using conventional cross-linking or vulcanising agents. Transformation of the bromine functionalities of BIIR into ionic imidazolium bromide groups results in the formation of reversible ionic associates that exhibit physical cross-linking ability. The reversibility of the ionic association facilitates the healing processes by temperature- or stress-induced rearrangements, thereby enabling a fully cut sample to retain its original properties after application of the self-healing process. Other mechanical properties, such as the elastic modulus, tensile strength, ductility, and hysteresis loss, were found to be superior to those of conventionally sulphur-cured BIIR. This simple and easy approach to preparing a commercial rubber with self-healing properties offers unique development opportunities in the field of highly engineered materials, such as tyres, for which safety, performance, and longer fatigue life are crucial factors.

Concepts: Polymer, Engineering, Materials science, Tensile strength, Automobile, Synthetic rubber, Vulcanization, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company


Polymers for IR imaging: The preparation of high refractive index polymers (n = 1.75 to 1.86) via the inverse vulcanization of elemental sulfur is reported. High quality imaging in the near (1.5 μm) and mid-IR (3-5 μm) regions using high refractive index polymeric lenses from these sulfur materials was demonstrated.

Concepts: Amino acid, Optics, Refractive index, Polymer, Sulfur, Material, Vulcanization, Natural rubber


Composites of sulphur polymers with nanoparticles such as PbS, with tunable optical properties are reported. A hydrothermal route incorporating pre-formed nanoparticles was used, and their physical and chemical properties evaluated by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric and elemental analyses. These polymers are easily synthesised from an industrial waste material, elemental sulphur, can be cast into virtually any form and as such represent a new class of materials designed for a responsible energy future.

Concepts: Light, Polymer, Sulfur, Material, Scanning electron microscope, Waste, Vulcanization, Industrial waste


Lithium-Sulfur batteries have attracted much attention in recent years due to their high theoretical capacity of 1672mAh g-1 and low cost. However, a rapid capacity fade is normally observed, attributed mainly to polysulfide dissolution and volume expansion. Although many strategies have been reported to prolong the cyclability, the high cost and complex preparation processes still hinder their practical application. Here we report the synthesis of a polyaniline-sulfur yolk-shell nanocomposite through a heating vulcanization of a polyaniline-sulfur core-shell structure. We observed that this heating treatment was much more effective than chemical leaching to prepare uniform yolk-shell structures. Compared with its sulfur-polyaniline core-shell counterparts, the yolk-shell nanostructures delivered much improved cyclability owing to the presence of internal void space inside the polymer shell to accommodate the volume expansion of sulfur during lithiation. The yolk-shell material exhibited a stable capacity of 765 mAh g-1 at 0.2 C after 200 cycles, representing a promising future for industrial scale Li-S batteries.

Concepts: Scientific method, Structure, Polymer, Nanomaterials, Philosophy of science, Sulfur, Vulcanization, Polysulfide


Pumping iron: Double-threaded rotaxanes can be linked to coordination units and polymerized in the presence of iron or zinc ions. pH modulation triggers cooperative contractions (or extensions) of the individual rotaxanes, thus resulting in an amplified motion of the muscle-like supramolecular chains with changes of their contour lengths of several micrometers.

Concepts: Acid, Chemistry, Copper, Carbon monoxide, Supramolecular chemistry, Alloy, Vulcanization, Molecular switch


Exposure to natural rubber latex, primarily through the use of gloves, is a well-recognized cause of occupational asthma. We investigated latex glove use among Australian workers and estimated the resultant burden of occupational asthma among healthcare workers (HCWs).

Concepts: Vulcanization, Glove, Latex, Rubber


Benzothiazole (BT) and its derivates are commonly used as vulcanization accelerators in rubber production. Information on the occurrence of BTs in road dust (RD) and on human exposure to these compounds is very limited. BT and its six derivates in tire wear particles (TWPs) and RD were determined in this study. Samples were extracted using solid-liquid extraction, purified by a HLB SPE column, and determined by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). All seven BTs were found in 17 TWPs samples from different tire brands. The mass fractions of all seven BTs (∑BTs) in TWPs ranged from 46.93 to 215 μg/g with an average concentration of 99.32 μg/g. Benzothiazole and 2-hydroxybenzothiazole (2-OH-BT) were the two major compounds, accounting for 56%-89% of the total. The seven BTs were also found in all 36 sets of RD samples (each set included one sample of TSP (particles < 75 μm in diameter), PM10(particles < 10 μm in diameter) and PM2.5(particles < 2.5 μm in diameter)) fractions of RD. The median ∑BTs concentration was highest in PM2.5(26.62 μg/g), followed by PM10(22.03 μg/g), and TSP (0.68 μg/g). Of the seven BTs, BT, 2-aminobenzothiazole (2-NH2-BT), 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), and 2-(methylthio)benzothiazole (MTBT) were distributed in PM2.5and 2-OH-BT was distributed in PM2.5-10of RD. Based on the mass fractions of BTs in the TSP, PM10, and PM2.5fractions of RD, human exposure via ingestion, inhalation and dermal absorption were evaluated. Ingestion was found to be the main exposure pathway in humans, and daily intake of BTs in PM2.5was highest, followed by PM10and TSP, respectively. Children may suffer more health risks than adults when exposed to RD.

Concepts: Human, Mass spectrometry, Particulate, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Exposure, Extraction, Dust, Vulcanization


This work aimed to produce a membrane based on fluconazole-loaded natural rubber latex (NRL), and study their interaction, drug release and antifungal susceptibility against Candida albicans.

Concepts: Vulcanization, Rubber


An increasing production of natural rubber (NR) products has led to major challenges in waste management. In this study, the degradation of rubber latex gloves in a mineral salt medium (MSM) using a bacterial consortium, a mixed culture of the selected bacteria and a pure culture were studied. The highest 18% weight loss of the rubber gloves were detected after incubated with the mixed culture. The increased viable cell counts over incubation time indicated that cells used rubber gloves as sole carbon source leading to the degradation of the polymer. The growth behavior of NR-degrading bacteria on the latex gloves surface was investigated using the scanning electron microscope (SEM). The occurrence of the aldehyde groups in the degradation products was observed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy analysis. Rhodococcus pyridinivorans strain F5 gave the highest weight loss of rubber gloves among the isolated strain and posses latex clearing protein encoded by lcp gene. The mixed culture of the selected strains showed the potential in degrading rubber within 30 days and is considered to be used efficiently for rubber product degradation. This is the first report to demonstrate a strong ability to degrade rubber by Rhodococcus pyridinivorans.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Bacteria, Polymer, Scanning electron microscope, Fourier transform spectroscopy, Vulcanization, Glove, Rubber