Rubber Research During Energy Transition

Professor Anil K. Bhowmick

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Houston


Rubber research has taken a significant turn and is moving in the new directions in recent years. Some of the reasons are the proposed use of new energy source to achieve net zero carbon economy, use of energy friendly product design, minimization of energy losses in manufacturing etc... Hydrogen is the future alternative to fossil fuels and also environmentally sustainable. Hydrogen interactions with elastomeric components are of paramount importance. Any elastomeric material used in contact should withstand hydrogen environment. Along with this new economy, the future goal is to use rubbers and their ingredients as eco-friendly as possible. Although natural rubber is sustainable (barring small challenges posed for its production), manufacturing techniques of most synthetic rubbers are not futuristic. On one hand, natural rubber is now produced from at least two additional sources. On the other, special drive has been taken to manufacture synthetic rubbers from bio sources. A few of them has been already under trials in the industry.