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U.S. patent awarded to BioWave crumb rubber technology

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Scientists at Westinghouse Savannah River Co. (WSRC) have developed a way to process crumb rubber with the potential of being mixed with new rubber to create tires containing 20% or more recycled rubber.

Previous attempts within the industry to produce a tire that incorporated recycled crumb rubber while maintaining acceptable mechanical properties resulted in a tire with only 5% recycled rubber, WSRC notes.

The new BioWave process has received a U.S. patent for "Combination Biological and Microwave Treatments of Used Rubber Products."

BioWave is a two-stage process that combines microbial oxidation and microwave energy, says WSRC. It has been successfully tested on 40 mesh truck tire tread crumb rubber. The tread compound containing 20% BioWave-treated crumb rubber outperformed a tread compound comprised of 20% untreated crumb rubber and a tread compound with 100% new tire rubber in some performance categories, according to WSRC.

In addition to lowering the cost of raw materials needed to make tires, the BioWave process produces a homogenous feedstock with reduced viscosity, requiring lower processing temperatures, says WSRC.

WSRC is seeking companies interested in licensing the BioWave process for commercial use. Interested parties should call (803) 725-8440.

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