Functionalized SSBR - a Key Component for Fuel Efficient Tires

Wednesday, October 12, 2016: 8:30 AM
Rm 304-5 (David L. Lawrence Convention Center )
Christian Döring, Buidling F17, Trinseo Deutschland GmbH, Schkopau, Germany and Sven Thiele, Synthetic Rubber R&D, Trinseo Deutschland GmbH, Merseburg, Germany
The Schkopau site in Germany has meanwhile a 16 years history of commercial production of SSBR and of low cis BR. Together with the 6th anniversary of Trinseo this represents a good opportunity to make an assessment of the business achievements.

Though no specific automobile or tire related legislation was in place in the year 2000, the first SSBR grades, SPRINTANTM SLR-4601 Schkopau (clear grade), SPRINTANTM SLR-4630 Schkopau and SPRINTANTMSLR-6430 Schkopau (both oil extended) already addressed low rolling resistance, and balanced grip/ abrasion resistance needs in passenger car tires. Low rolling resistance is the result of a reduced hysteresis energy loss of the cured synthetic rubber in the tire. This property is a result of energy dissipation, which occurs especially at polymer chain-ends and at exposed polymer chain loops. The carbon black active chain-end modification applied in SPRINTANTM SLR-4601 reduces the transfer of hysteretic energy into heat. Polymer-filler interaction is enhanced at modified polymer chain ends, while relatively high molecular weights as applied in non-modified SPRINTANTM SLR-4630 and SPRINTANTMSLR-6430 reduce the number of polymer chain-ends per unit volume. Both, polymer chain-end modification and application of high polymer molecular weight, are measures for rolling resistance improvement. A new family of silica and carbon black interactive polymers was commercialized in the 2010 to 2014 timeframe. The SSBR grades SPRINTANTM SLR-4602 Schkopau, SPRINTANTM SLR-3402 Schkopau, SPRINTANTM SLR-4502 Schkopau and SPRINTANTMSLR-4633 Schkopau (oil grade) not only enable a reduced fuel consumption in tires, but the different SSBR microstructures also adjusts the polymers for different target tire applications.The different tire labels make the fuel efficiency contribution and the wet grip behavior of tires transparent. Moreover, tires not fulfilling the minimum standards of the EU label are banned from the market.

Those trends will drive research activities in the field of SSBR and BR for many years to come. Currently, advanced polymer grades are in different stages of development and plant implementation at Trinseo. These new developments are anticipated to secure and grow production at Schkopau, the world’s first large scale synthetic rubber production site.