From waste tires to flame retardant conductive materials – project for PLN 5 million | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2022-06-08

From waste tires to flame retardant conductive materials – project for PLN 5 million

Reasarch team (from the left: Prof. Jacek Ryl, Prof. Mohammad Reza Saeb, Prof. Krzysztof Formela and Prof. Robert Bogdanowicz) at the planetary extruder used for preparation of polymer mixtures that can be used for 3D printing. Photo: Bartosz Bańka / Gdańsk University of Technology
Reasarch team (from the left: Prof. Jacek Ryl, Prof. Mohammad Reza Saeb, Prof. Krzysztof Formela and Prof. Robert Bogdanowicz) at the planetary extruder used for preparation of polymer mixtures that can be used for 3D printing. Photo: Bartosz Bańka / Gdańsk University of Technology
Researchers from Gdańsk University of Technology, supervised by Prof. Mohammad Reza Saeb, conduct research on inexpensive, fireproof and electrically conductive materials made of used car tires and carbon fillers. 3D printed thermoplastic composites can be used, among others, in electronics, automotive and construction industries. The research team from Gdańsk University of Technology are among the world's leading researchers in the field of waste tires recycling.

Environmentally friendly and low-cost methods of recycling of the used car tires are one of the greatest environmental challenges. Ground tire rubber (GTR) is currently used, among others, as modifiers or fillers in preparation of polymer composites, in asphalt or concrete for the needs of various branches of the industry. This team from Gdańsk University of Technology aim to go a step further and focus on upcycling of the waste, creating a flexible material with unique properties, such as electrical conductivity and increased fire resistance.

High-tech based on recycled products

The main objective of the project is to find innovative, environmentally friendly and cost-effective methods of rubber recycling by transforming waste into value-added materials. For this purpose, our team modifies rubber wastes to optimize the electrical properties of the obtained samples, increase their fire resistance and adapt them for 3D printing says Prof. Mohammad Reza Saeb, from the Department of Polymer Technology at the Faculty of Chemistry, the principal investigator . We have already prepared several samples as preliminary experiments. Benefiting from this project, Gdańsk University of Technology will acquire new research equipment, including atmospheric plasma reactors for powder modification, Raman spectrometer, aging chamber and a set for 3D printing of upcycled materials with selective laser sintering (SLS) technology.

International and interdisciplinary cooperation

Researchers from the Faculty of Chemistry, including Prof. Krzysztof Formela, will be responsible for the development of the composition of materials, optimization of their production conditions and 3D printing, including an assessment which materials will be used in FDM printing (printing from a molten material), and which in SLS printing (printing by sintering polymer powders with a laser).

A research group led by Prof. Jacek Ryl, from the Faculty of Applied Physics and Mathematics will analyze the physicochemical properties and the morphology of the produced materials and assess their impact on the functional properties of the obtained composites.

A research group led by Prof. Robert Bogdanowicz, from the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics will support the chemists in characterization of the conductivity and will provide carbon materials (treated  mainly by plasma and chemical modification).

The project is implemented in cooperation with the scientists from Spain and France: Prof. Xavier Colom from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Prof. Henri Vahabi, from University of Lorraine.

– Together with the team from Spain, we will study the electrical properties of materials, whereas cooperation with the research group from France will allow us to assess the fire resistance of the produced composites. Our materials are to be both conductive and flame-resistant, so that they are safe to use in crisis situations – says Prof. Mohammad Reza Saeb.

Global forefront

Prof. Mohammad Reza Saeb was employed at Gdańsk University of Technology in 2021 as part of the NOBELIUM program, which purpose is to attract and support highly qualified international staff. The professor is an expert in the development of polymer blends, composites and nanocomposites. His greatest achievement so far is the definition of two universal indicators: Cure Index and Flame Retardancy Index, which enable the appropriate classification of polymeric materials. In the first edition of the ranking published by Research.com in 2022, Prof. Saeb is among the world's leading scientists in the field of Materials Science afiliated by Gdańsk University of Technology.  

The research team from Gdańsk University of Technology is among the world's top universities (according to the Scopus database) in terms of GTR modification and upcycling.

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Project: Thermoplastics/ground tire rubber/carbon fillers systems – novel approach for development of low-cost flexible electronics with tailored performance properties

Cost: PLN 4 998 488

Implemented within the scope of Advanced Materials Center

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