Breakthrough in nanocellulose dispersion composite masterbatch

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A new nanocellulose dispersion composite (NDC) rubber masterbatch technology from Birla Carbon and GranBio Technologies is said to offer the tire industry a breakthrough in materials development.

This advancement in materials was achieved in a three-year joint development program between the two companies. As part of the project, researchers have looked at how to improve tire sustainability in terms of reducing rolling resistance and increasing vehicle fuel economy through incorporation of bio-derived nanocellulose in rubber compounds.

The NDC masterbatch is said to overcome traditional dispersion challenges by combining several synergistic innovations including GranBio’s patented hydrophobic form of nanocellulose.

Incorporation of nanocellulose in rubber compounds has been an active area of research and development throughout industry and academia over the past few years. However effective dispersion of hydrophilic nanocellulose into hydrophobic rubber formulations has been a persistent problem that has previously hindered widespread uptake by the rubber industry.

Dale Clark, chief technology officer at Birla Carbon, said, “A key product innovation goal of our tire customers is to increase the amount of renewable raw materials in their tires through product innovation. The NDC masterbatch enables delivery of this goal while maintaining or improving tire properties and performance.”

Kenneth Hill, chief commercial officer, GranBio Technologies, said, “This is a significant milestone in GranBio’s commercialization of its breakthrough BioPlus nanocellulose technology. GranBio Technologies is committed to bringing renewable technologies to market to improve sustainability while providing improved product functionality for its customers. We are proud to be partnering with Birla Carbon to bring this solution to market and look forward to seeing the first commercial products on the road.

“The breakthrough in nanocellulose technology for rubber compounds provides many advantages and benefits for the rubber compounder including easy dispersing, convenient, dust-free handling, and integration into formulations along with increased use of renewable raw materials and improvements in fuel economy.”

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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