Evonik Industries AG has developed a new rubber process additive that can convert scrap tires into materials that can be used in road construction. The company plans to demonstrate the additive at the K show to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany in October this year. Evonik’s Vestenamer-branded additive allows the processing of rubber powder from scrap tires that are then added to the asphalt. The recycled material, mixed with road construction bitumen or asphalt, enhances the quality of the mixtures and lengthens the service life of roads. Dr. Peter Hannen, market development manager for Vestenamer, explains that the product, when used as a process additive, results in an improved flowability of the rubber compound, which allows the material to be processed with substantially higher efficiency. Evonik has presented figures indicating that nearly 19.3 million tons of scrap tires are produced globally every year.
There have been some looming concerns about the quality and durability of roads built by using additives for the production of rubber-modified bitumen or asphalt in regions like Europe. The reactivity and polymer structure of the additive creates a good network density between rubber particles and Hannen explains that this leads to enhanced mechanical characteristics. The company’s process additive increases the cost-effectiveness of processing and the quality of the rubber parts when rubber is recycled. Higher levels of rubber powder in road surfaces can also decrease traffic noise by almost 2 decibels. Evonik also claims that each ton of recycled rubber power preserves around 2.7 tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise result from burning the scrap tires.
The company explains that the road surfaces consisting of rubber generate significantly lower VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions as compared to roads made with polymer-modified asphalt. Evonik manufactures Vestenamer additives at its facility in the Marl Chemical Park located in Germany.