CLEVELAND—Lehigh Technologies Inc., pioneering manufacturer of micronized rubber powders (MRPs), is rapidly expanding both its applications and its business.
That's the assessment of Glenn Denstaedt, technical director for tire and industrial rubber for the Atlanta-based company.
“We're currently working on a couple of applications,” he said at the recent International Elastomer Conference in Cleveland.
The use of silica-silane reinforcements for tire treads is one area of opportunity for Lehigh's MRPs, Mr. Denstaedt said. “MRPs are already found in that application, but we're trying to expand that.”
MRPs in sidewalls are another potential and very promising growth area, Mr. Denstaedt said.
“Tire companies are very careful about sidewall formulations,” he said. “Cracks, flex fatigue and ozone resistance are all major issues for sidewalls. When we've put MRPs in sidewalls, there's been a significant improvement in crack prevention—especially in the fine particle sizes—and flex fatigue.”
Lehigh is expanding its development activities in that area, especially in discovering the optimal level of MRPs in sidewall rubber formulations and optimal particle size for that formulation, Mr. Denstaedt said.
The company needs offsite testing for static ozone resistance, he said, and it recently sent materials to Akron Rubber Development Laboratory for evaluation.
Sixty-five percent of Lehigh's MRPs go to tire-related applications, according to Mr. Denstaedt.