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Development of recycling/recovery process of vulcanized rubber by ionizing radiation and mechanical shearing for new applications


One of major concerns of society is related to use and management of solid residues (FUKUMORI et al, 2002; ADHIKARI et al, 2000). Up to a short time ago concerns about environment was not a relevant matter for business. Nowadays there is a worldwide involvement with environment and natural resources in prejudice of people capable to affect the future of next generations (ZULAUF, 2000). Therefore, it is observed an increased interest from society and from governments toward stimulating recycling. Technologies development for reduction of polymeric wastes, acceptable from environmental standpoint and effective when considering costs have been proved to be a challenging task due to inherent complexity of polymers reuse. The establishment of more efficient processes related to reuse/recycling of polymeric materials is a challenge worldwide (FUKUMORI et al, 2002; ADHIKARI et al, 2000). In Brazil, correct destination of solid residues and further impact on environment have been managed as State Publish Politics leading to a behavioral change from companies and society (LAGARINHOS e TENÓRIO, 2009). Regulation of generation, handling and residues reuse is based in federal, state and municipal laws, monitored by FNMA, IBAMA and CONAMA governmental bodies. Environmental norms are scheduled in ISO 14.000 and residues disposition is controlled by NBR 10.004 (ABNT, 1987 and ANIP, 2016). At a global level, there are not available and comprehensive data for a real evaluation but it is known that reuse of rubber residues did not find yet an ideal configuration nor expected levels. Recycling and recovering are considered as the best management options for these residues (ADHIKARI et al, 2000; SUTANTO et al, 2006, SCAGLIUSI et al 2013). Methods conventionally used for rubbers recycling include the use of chemical additives (crosslinking, catalysts, etc.) and thermal treatments. These operations normally require complex procedures and constant process adjustments in order to obtain a product within desired characteristics. Relevant factors to be considered on using normal methods for polymers processing are based in a great liberation of toxic and volatile products during processing as well high energy consumption - both factors generating a significant environmental and economic impact (CHMIELEWSKI et al, 2005). Due to ionizing radiation capacity for changing materials structure and properties and considering that it is applicable for rubbers recycling/recovering, irradiation is promising and effective for solids residues management, being considered totally sustainable and economically viable. This project aims to the development of rubbers recycling process by using ionizing radiation associated to mechanical shear that will further promote a break-up of S-S and C-S bonds non destructed during irradiation. This way, rubber residue shows a degradation degree possible to be controlled on shear without affecting polymers principal structure. (AU)

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