Novel and patented method for reprocessing and recycling industrial scrap rubber
Watson Brown HSM Ltd, based in the UK, has developed an entirely novel and patented method for reprocessing and recycling rubber. When virgin rubber is ‘set’ or vulcanised through the addition of sulphur under heat and pressure the polymer chains in the rubber are cross-linked. It is widely believed that this is an irreversible process, and that it is impossible to break the cross links in the rubber to return it to its virgin form without irreversibly damaging its properties. Watson Brown’s process, known as ‘high stress mixing’, uses only mechanical forces without the use of any chemicals or the requirement for high temperatures and pressures to break to cross linking bonds and return the material to its pre-vulcanised form. This recycled rubber has almost identical properties to the equivalent virgin material and can be used to replace up to 25% of virgin polymers in rubber manufacturing processes, giving substantial cost and energy savings.