- Recycling of Ground Tyre Rubber and Polyolefin Wastes by Producing Thermoplastic Elastomers (2005)
- This thesis deals with the development of thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers using recycled polyolefins and ground tyre rubber (GTR). The disposal of worn tyres and their economic recycling mean a great challenge nowadays. Material recycling is a preferred way in Europa owing to legislative actions and ecological arguments. This first step with worn tyres is already done in this direc-tion as GTR is available in different fractions in guaranteed quality. As the traditional applications of GTR are saturated, there is a great demand for new, value-added products containing GTR. So, the objective of this work was to convert GTR by reac-tive blending with polyolefins into thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) of suitable me-chanical and rheological properties. It has been established that bituminous reclamation of GTR prior to extrusion melt compounding with polyolefins is a promising way of TPE production. By this way the sol-content (acetone soluble fraction) of the GTR increases and the GTR particles can be better incorporated in the corresponding polyolefin matrix. The adhesion be-tween GTR and matrix is given by molecular intermingling in the resulting interphase. GTR particles of various production and mean particle size were involved in this study. As polyolefins recycled low-density polyethylene (LDPE), recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) were selected. First, the opti-mum conditions for the GTR reclamation in bitumen were established (160 °C < T < 180 °C; time ca. 4 hours). Polyolefin based TPEs were produced after GTR reclamation in extrusion compounding. Their mechanical (tensile behaviour, set properties), thermal (dynamic-mechanical thermal analysis, differential scanning calorimetry) and rheological properties (both in low- and high-shear rates ) were determined. The PE-based blends contained an ethylene/propylene/diene (EPDM) rubber as compatibilizer and their composition was as follows: PE/EPDM/GTR:bitumen = 50/25/25:25. The selected TPEs met the most important criterion, i.e. elongation at break > 100 %; compression set < 50%. The LDPE-based TPE (TPE(LDPE)) showed better me-chanical performance compared to the TPE(HDPE). This was assigned to the higher crystallinity of the HDPE. The PP-based blends of the compositions PP/(GTR-bitumen) 50/50 and 25/75, whereby the ratio of GTR/bitumen was 60/40, outperformed those containing non-reclaimed GTR. The related blends showed also a better compatibility with a PP-based commercial thermoplastic dynamic vulcanizate (TDV). Surprisingly, the mean particle size of the GTR, varied between < 0.2 and 0.4-0.7 mm, had a small effect on the mechanical properties, however somewhat larger for the rheological behaviour of the TPEs produced.