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Technical Rubber for Sustainable Mobility

Rubber components made from specialty rubber perform essential tasks in all kinds of motor vehicles, in machinery, buildings and virtually all technical equipment. Hardly any other group of materials can rival the versatility of technical rubber, whose invention can be traced back to nearly 100 years ago.

 

As the youngest family member of synthetic polymers, Therban® was developed during the 1970s in response to the thriving automotive, industrial, and oil exploration industries. When people at the time were looking for a whole new sort of rubber that could withstand multiple requirements under extreme working conditions, Therban® emerged as the optimum choice.

 

Therban® combines outstanding oil resistance at both high and low temperatures with extremely high wear resistance. As a result, it is always the first choice when extremely high stresses are involved, for example in the engine compartments of automobiles.

 

Therban® series include both partially and entirely hydrogenated acrylonitrile butadiene rubbers (HNBR), which boast improved swelling properties in oils and open up new opportunities for developers of technical rubber articles. While all the HNBR products enjoy intense strength, superior heat and oil resistance compared with standard NBR products and other polymers, only Therban® is able to offer a comprehensive group of grades that perform well in extreme temperatures, fuel, oil, ozone, and abrasion. Moreover, Therban® features exceptional durability and mechanical behavior. When heat builds up due to high contact pressure, quickly aging normal rubber, Therban® demonstrates a proud record of extended service life.

 

Due to its outstanding properties, Therban® is suitable for highly demanding applications such as the manufacturing of timing belts. These belts are widely used in automotive valve trains instead of a metal chain drive. Besides, Therban® is also used in shaft seals, high temperature gaskets, fuel seals, railway cables, aerospace applications and industrial equipment, alongside oil exploration industries like offshore seals, drill bit seals, cable jackets, navy cables and LSZH cables. Such a light alternative contributes to the increase of fuel efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions. Apart from their lower weight, their grade of efficiency is also better than that of chains.

 

LANXESS also promotes the development of bio-based alternatives to petrochemical materials through future-focused products such as Keltan® Eco, the first ever bio-based EPDM rubber.

 

Ethylene-propylene-diene monomer, or EPDM for short, is a high performance ethylene-propylene rubber processed using injection molding, extrusion or calendering. This synthetic rubber is characterized by fast, efficient mixing with high proportions of fillers and plasticizers. Ethylene-propylene elastomers have the lowest densities of all standard rubbers.

 

EPDM macromolecules offer excellent ozone and weathering resistance and impressive heat and oxidation resistance. The end products also boast good low-temperature flexibility (depending on the ethylene content) and electrical insulation property. EPDM-based products are widely used in the automotive engineering industry, by far the largest market sector, from solid and foam-rubber-like body seals to under-the-hood applications such as coolant hoses and seal.

 

Keltan® ECO is the world’s first synthetic rubber partly made of renewable raw material. Its basic material comes from sugarcane. Dehydrated, ethanol derived from sugar cane turns into ethylene and through the technique of polymerization, goes on to produce EPDM. The Brazilian company Braskem S.A. supplies the “green” ethylene to the LANXESS plant by pipeline. The ethylene content refined from the sugar cane reaches up to 70%, rendering it an excellent way to reduce individual carbon footprint and improve energy balance. The proportion is to be increased to over 90% in the next few years. Furthermore, in the future it may be possible to develop total independence from oil by adopting Keltan® ECO. It requires just one more step from the above-mentioned process to achieve that goal.

 

Keltan® ECO marks an impressive breakthrough of LANXESS in the process of searching for new basic substances and methods to manufacture high-quality products. Throughout 2012, the bio-based grade is estimated to make up for an increasingly high percentage of the 40,000 metric tons of Keltan® produced in Triunfo, Brazil, and the capacity will eventually mount to 10,000 metric tons per year. Keltan® ECO brings a good energy balance and high energy yield of 7,000 liters ethylene per hectare. Primarily, Keltan® ECO is used in the automotive, civil construction industry, and for plastic modification and making electrical wires and cables.

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