Sibur develops special component for production of rubbers and SBS polymers

Sibur develops special component for production of rubbers and SBS polymersRussian petchem firm Sibur says it has completed the development of a proprietary technology for the production of n-Butyllithium, a polymerisation initiator for the production of synthetic rubbers and SBS polymers.

Rubbers and SBS polymers made using n-Butyllithium offer increased resistance to abrasion, more flexibility and a greater ability to recover after deformation, among other features, which have a positive impact on the consumer appeal of the end product – car tyres, shoe soles, etc.

In the future, Sibur says it plans to make enough of the component to meet its needs; notably, the company has not ruled out the possibility of building its own facility to manufacture the component at one of its production sites.

“We started by reproducing a well-known 20th-century technology that remains widely used in the US, Europe and China. In the course of their work, however, our experts tested a number of hypotheses and optimised the technology for the production of n-Butyllithium by reducing the number of stages and the amount of equipment involved, which will make production much more cost-effective overall”, said Maxim Lipskikh, head of the plasticiser laboratory at NIOST, Sibur’s R&D centre.

All stages – from the laboratory phase to the completion of the first pilot tests – were completed in just seven months. The technology developed by Sibur’s scientists makes it possible to manufacture a product of the required quality that is in line with global benchmarks.

Elastomers based on synthetic rubbers are used in the road, footwear and tyre industries. In addition, Butyllithium is a valuable component in the organic synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients and is used in the production of agrochemicals and electronics.