By Dr. Cameron Chai
Yulex, a developer of biobased elastomer products, has signed a joint development agreement with Cooper Tire & Rubber, a company specialized in the design, manufacture and marketing of light truck and passenger car tires, to develop bio-based polymers for tire applications.
The agreement combines the capabilities of both the companies to facilitate the development of a consistent source of natural rubber. Cooper Tire’s advanced polymer and materials science experience and its designing and testing abilities will be integrated with Yulex’s expertise in the production of advanced biopolymers.
As there is a continuous decrease in the supply of natural rubber globally, the need for an alternative high quality, sustainable source of natural rubber is increasing. Yulex’s biopolymers, derived from the US-grown guayule plants, are used as an alternative to traditional petroleum-based rubber. These biopolymers are environment-friendly and possess high-strength, reliability, functionality and elasticity.
Chuck Yurkovich, VP of Global Technology at Cooper Tire, noted that the main objective of the company is to create a reliable domestic source of natural rubber, which helps to decrease its dependency on raw material sources outside the U.S. Yurkovich added that the joint development program will lead to the creation of a new agricultural polymer for a wide range of tire applications and in addition, it will convert wastelands in to useful farmlands to grow crops required for biopolymer production.