Sunday, June 3, 2007

28. Elastics

(rubber, synthetic rubber)

Elastic Car Tires from Oil of Orange instead of Petroleum

New Tires Made of Oil from Orange Peels [with less polluting petroleum in the recipe now and its a more efficient grade of tire anyway it seems when you lower the oil; better for the consumer use and for the environment without oil]

by Trey Granger
Published on July 9th, 2009

Tire manufacturer Yokohama is now selling a [car tire] model made with 80 percent non-petroleum material, substituting orange oil as the primary ingredient to make vulcanized rubber.

The new tire is called the Super E-spec™ and has already received the Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award in 2008. Yokohama will initially market the tire for hybrid car models such as the Toyota Prius.

“The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance,” Yokohama vice president of sales Dan King said. “It also helps consumers save money at the gas pump by improving fuel efficiency via a 20-percent reduction in rolling resistance [in which oil based tired were more inefficient in this regard as and now more oil is now unrequired as well].”

Orange oil is considered sustainable because it is produced from a renewable resource. The same philosophy of reducing petroleum use is utilized in producing plastics from corn starch or vegetable oil. [though make sure that the plastics can be degradable themselves instead of becoming a novel plague in our ecology as they have been in the past 50 years.]

Yokohama has yet to release the environmental impact of disposing these tires, which typically provides an environmental concern. The petroleum [based tires] in traditional [sic, first failed attempt at tires still on the road mostly] tires can burn for months in a landfill and is difficult to extinguish. These fires also release black smoke and toxins into the air. Yokohama has not specified whether the orange oil will biodegrade over time.

The process for recycling tires involves devulcanizing the rubber, which would essentially remove the oil and extract natural rubber. Because this is an expensive process, used tires are often shredded and turned into playground surfacing or additives for the soil in sports turf. It can also be reused as artwork.

New Technology to Increase Tire Recycling by 50 Percent

by Trey Granger
Published on May 13th, 2009

Two Australian companies are working on a new three-step process for recycling tires, with the goal of a more economically-viable recycling solution that produces rubber powder for new tires and other rubber products.

Ground rubber, or “crumb” rubber, is being used to a greater extent in many states in rubberized asphalt applications and is the largest single use of recycled rubber. [which of course is hardly sustainable on the environment so other options for removing the pollution based tires and thus later the pollution based asphalt for road infrastructure now possible as well.]

The two companies, CSIRO and VR TEK, have developed a technology that can devulcanize a tire and reclaim rubber. In the past, the bonds between rubber polymers have been strong enough to make tires difficult to melt.

One way to get around this is by shredding tires, but this requires special machinery to remove metal. Tires have metal in the rim and in lead weights to keep wheels aligned. One common reason tire recycling is considered uneconomical is the threat of metal contamination.

The new technology will separate the tire into sections based on material composition, as opposed to shredding.

CSIRO believes it will result in a 50 percent increase in tire recycling, which would be significant considering that an estimated one billion tires are disposed of annually, creating both environmental and health concerns when landfilled.

The companies have yet to release information on the other two steps in the recycling process but anticipate that Australia will eventually ban tires from landfills. Both government money and the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre are funding the project.

The ongoing pollution in tires additionally can be used in a more durable way as cheap wall building materials, as demonstrated in this other section of the website and the link for Dennis Weaver's Earthship on this page. "Dennis Weaver, the US retired actor, here builds himself a mansion made almost entirely from....old tyres and dirt. This is eco-modernisation, proving once and for all that eco-friendly design and construction/building does not have to smell or look funny. In fact, it is cheaper, quicker, easier and safer to construct such an 'earthship' than any conventional construction technique! This is eco-rationality in action. Prepare to be amazed."

What about graphene elastics?

Is graphene the next environmentally sound plastic and elastic, among its many other properties? Can you imagine clear thin tires filled with air that are far more durable? Meet graphene:

We have so many options for sustainability, being held back by degradative politics preserving old raw material regimes in the commodity ecology categories that are unintegrated in each other. There's nothing to stop full sustainability except a handful of psychopaths in their previous infrastructural investments gatekeeping against it and with violence and repression of our sustainable options as well.

With more knowledge assembled about how possible complete sustainability is, it is more likely unavoidable. For instance: graphene:

The wonder stuff that could change the world: Graphene is so strong a sheet of it as thin as clingfilm could support an elephant

By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 7:39 AM on 7th October 2011

Revolutionary: Graphene, which is formed of honeycomb pattern of carbon atoms, could be the most important new material [transparent, electric, and strong building material as well] material for a century [it's a completely unique mixture of consumptive categories in this material: a thin, transparent, super-strong (harder than diamond) structural building material that has electrical conduction properties better than copper (copper is hardly a structural material), though graphene's lack of semiconductor principles may make it difficult for some fantasy computer operations that currently are based on mostly silicon's physical capacities of 'on/off' switching in the material itself (there are other options for this switching though than polluting silicon industries: see the category on communication materials for more options); thus with graphene always 'on' in other words, and very efficiently so, it makes it difficult to do any anticipated Boolean/operations in the material itself in base 2--the insight of all computers from Shannon onward.]

Revolutionary: Graphene, which is formed of honeycomb pattern of carbon atoms, could be the most important new material for a century

It is tougher than diamond, but stretches like rubber. It is virtually invisible, conducts electricity and heat better than any copper wire and weighs next to nothing. Meet graphene — an astonishing new material which could revolutionise almost every part of our lives.

Some researchers claim it’s the most important substance to be created since the first synthetic plastic more than 100 years ago.

If it lives up to its promise, it could lead to mobile phones that you roll up and put behind your ear, high definition televisions as thin as wallpaper, and bendy electronic newspapers that readers could fold away into a tiny square.

It could transform medicine, and replace silicon as the raw material used to make computer chips [perhaps everything except this however, see note above.]

The ‘miracle material’ was discovered in Britain just seven years ago, and the buzz around it is extraordinary.

Last year, it won two Manchester University scientists the Nobel Prize for physics, and this week Chancellor George Osborne pledged £50 million towards developing technologies based on the super-strong substance.

In terms of its economics, one of the most exciting parts of the graphene story is its cost. Normally when scientists develop a new wonder material, the price is eye-wateringly high.

But graphene is made by chemically processing graphite — the cheap material in the ‘lead’ of pencils.
Every few months researchers come up with new, cheaper ways of mass producing graphene, so that some experts believe it could eventually cost less than £4 per pound.

But is graphene really the wonder stuff of the 21st century?

For a material with so much promise, it has an incredibly simple chemical structure. A sheet of graphene is just a single layer of carbon atoms, locked together in a strongly-bonded honeycomb pattern.

Pledge: George Osborne, pictured visiting the University of Manchester lab where graphene is being researched, has said £50m will be set aside to help with development of technologies based on the substance

That makes it the thinnest material ever made. You would need to stack three million graphene sheets on top of each other to get a pile one milimetre high. It is also the strongest substance known to mankind — 200 times stronger than steel and several times tougher than diamond.

A sheet of graphene as thin as clingfilm could hold the weight of an elephant. In fact, according to one calculation, an elephant would need to balance precariously on the end of a pencil to break through that same sheet.

Despite its strength, it is extremely flexible and can be stretched by 20 per cent without any damage.

It is also a superb conductor of electricity — far better than copper, traditionally used for wiring — and is the best conductor of heat on the planet.

But perhaps the most remarkable feature of graphene is where it comes from. Graphene is made from graphite, a plentiful grey mineral mostly mined in Chile, India and Canada.

A pencil lead is made up of many millions of layers of graphene. These layers are held together only weakly — which is why they slide off each other when a pencil is moved across the page.

Graphene was first isolated by Professors Konstantin Novoselov and Andrew Geim at Manchester University in 2004. The pair used sticky tape to strip away thin flakes of graphite, then attached it to a silicon plate which allowed the researchers to identify the tiny layers through a microscope.

Discovery: Professors Andre Geim, left, and Dr Konstantin Novoselov first isolated graphene in 2004. They later won the Nobel Prize for Physics last year

Russian-born Prof Novoselov, 37, believes graphene could change everything from electronics to computers.

‘I don’t think it has been over-hyped,’ he said. ‘It has attracted a lot of attention because it is so simple — it is the thinnest possible matter — and yet it has so many unique properties.

‘There are hundreds of properties which are unique or superior to other materials. Because it is only one atom thick it is quite transparent — not many materials that can conduct electricity which are transparent.’

Its discovery has triggered a boom for material science. Last year, there were 3,000 research papers on its properties, and 400 patent applications.

The electronics industry is convinced graphene will lead to gadgets that make the iPhone and Kindle seem like toys from the age of steam trains.

Modern touch-sensitive screens use indium tin oxide — a substance that is transparent but which carries electrical currents. But indium tin oxide is expensive, and gadgets made from it shatter or crack easily when dropped. Replacing indium tin oxide with graphene-based compounds could allow for flexible, paper-thin computer and television screens. South Korean researchers have created a 25in flexible touch-screen using graphene.

Ancient history: If the development of graphene is successful it will make the iPad and Kindle seem like toys from the age of the steam train

Imagine reading your Daily Mail on a sheet of electric paper. Tapping a button on the corner could instantly update the contents or move to the next page. Once you’ve finished reading the paper, it could be folded up and used afresh tomorrow.

Other researchers are looking at many ways of using graphene in medicine. It is also being touted as an alternative to the carbon-fibre bodywork of boats and bikes [and car tires?] Graphene in tyres could make them stronger.

Some even claim it will replace the silicon in computer chips. In the future, a graphene credit card could store as much information as today’s computers.

‘We are talking of a number of unique properties combined in one material which probably hasn’t happened before,’ said Prof Novoselov. ‘You might want to compare it to plastic. But graphene is as versatile as all the plastics put together.

‘It’s a big claim, but it’s not bold. That’s exactly why there are so many researchers working on it.’

Dr Sue Mossman, curator of materials at the Science Museum in London, says graphene has parallels with Bakelite — the first man-made plastic, invented in 1907.

Resistant to heat and chemicals, and an excellent electrical insulator, Bakelite easily made electric plugs, radios, cameras and telephones.

‘Bakelite was the material of its time. Is this the material of our times?’ she says. ‘Historically we have been really good at invention in this country, but we’ve been really bad at capitalising on it.’

If graphene isn’t to go the same way as other great British inventions which were never properly exploited commercially at home — such as polythene and carbon fibre — it will need massive investment in research and development.

Core material: Graphene comes from a base material of graphite and is so thin that three millions sheets of the substance would be needed to make a layer 1mm thick

That’s why the Government’s move to support its development in the UK got a warm round of applause at the Conservative Party conference.

But compared to the investment in graphene in America and Asia, the £50 million promised by the Chancellor is negligible. South Korea is investing £195million into the technology. The European Commission is expected to invest one billion euros into graphene in the next ten years.

Yet despite the flurry of excitement, many researchers doubt graphene can live up to such high expectations.

It wouldn’t be the first wonder material that failed to deliver. In 1985 another form of carbon, called fullerenes or buckyballs, was hailed as the revolutionary new material of the era. Despite the hype, there has yet to be a major practical application.

And there are already some problems with using graphene. It is so good at conducting electricity that turning it into devices like transistors — which control the flow of electrical currents, so need to be able to stop electricity flowing through them — has so far proved problematic.

Earlier this year computer company IBM admitted that it was ‘difficult to imagine’ graphene replacing silicon in computer chips.

And sceptics point out that most new materials — such as carbon-fibre — take 20 years from invention before they can be used commercial use.

You might think from all the hype, that the road to a great graphene revolution has already been mapped out.

But its future is far from certain. In fact it’s barely been penciled out in rough.

Read more:

What is Graphene?
6 min.

Ideas of flexible graphene:
2 min.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Meet the self-healing rubber band

By John Timmer | Published: February 20, 2008 - 12:01PM CT

In today's issue of Nature, researchers describe the development of a remarkable material, one that combines many of the useful properties of rubber with the ability to self-repair.

Even when completely cut with a razor, bringing the free ends together for 15 minutes at room temperature is enough to allow them to reconnect. The site of self-repair can be stretched to double its normal length without breaking. Best yet, the material is only a few simple chemical reactions away from vegetable oil.

All that's missing is a catchy name for it so that I can stop referring to it as "the material."

Normal rubber consists of long chains of hydrocarbons; in most applications, these chains are chemically crosslinked to give the rubber added strength. In the new material, the chains are significantly shorter, as they originate in the fatty acids commonly found in vegetable oils.

The chemical crosslinks are also gone, replaced by hydrogen bonds.

Normally, fatty acids can't do much hydrogen bonding, as only the acid part of the molecule can take part in that.

That's where the chemical reactions come in—by reacting the acid portions with compounds containing large numbers of nitrogen atoms, the possible combinations of hydrogen bonding sites was radically expanded.

When the new material is stretched, it responds by sliding into new configurations with fewer hydrogen bonds. Release the tension, and it contracts back to an energetically favored configuration with more hydrogen bonds.

The result is a plasticized material that can be stretched to over 500 percent of its normal length before breaking and can survive repeated stretching to triple its relaxed length.

The most intriguing aspect of the new material is that cutting it doesn't involve snapping chemical bonds but, instead, simply separates hydrogen bonding partners. Push the ends back together, and the partners will quickly reestablish the severed links.

Over time, this repair capacity fades as the unpaired molecules find partners elsewhere at the cut.

At room temperature, however, this process is so slow that a cut can be healed even after its ends are separated for over a week.

The manufacturing process used a chemical plasticizer (dodecane) that doesn't undergo hydrogen bonding to help the material form a flexible solid.

The researchers note, however, that changing the plasticizer can dramatically alter the properties of the final material. Replacing dodecane by water, for example, created a material that acted like traditional rubber at temperatures below freezing. Between changing the plasticizer and using different nitrogen-containing compounds to link the fatty acids, the authors suggest that there's a huge potential for customization in these materials.

Nature, 2008. DOI: 10.1038/nature06669