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Bridgestone announces hybrid-polymer breakthrough

Bridgestone Corp. has announced it has developed a way to bond rubber and resins at the molecular level into a hybrid polymer, a development that shows promise for reducing the amount of polymeric materials needed in tires.

The new polymer, “high strength rubber” (HSR), is described as a hybrid material: bonding synthetic-rubber components such as butadiene and isoprene with resin components such as ethylene at the molecular level. Bridgestone claims it offers “unprecedented durability” with crack-resistance of over five times greater, abrasion resistance over 2.5 times greater, and tensile strength more than 1.5 times greater than natural rubber.

The production process uses Bridgestone’s proprietary gadolinium (Gd) catalyst via copolymerization. The company said it developed the polymer by “further evolving” Gd catalyst technologies used to synthesize polyisoprene rubber.

Target applications, noted Bridgestone, include tires with higher performance and less material than current-generation tires.

The company also anticipates that HSR will help it meet its goal of converting to 100-percent sustainable materials set for 2050.

Read the full press release here.

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