RUBBex : From rubber particles of hevea latex to Natural Rubber structure and properties: towards optimizing the performances of Natural Rubber

Natural Rubber (NR) exhibits very specific properties (low heat build-up, crystallization under strain, etc.) never mimicked by synthetic rubbers. However, NR presents important drawbacks: non consistency of its properties and a structuration dynamics that is still not fully understood.The RUBBex project aims to study and identify the main biochemical components and the mechanisms involved in the structuration of NR in order to optimize its performances.

Date de début de projet

01/01/2015

Date de fin du projet

30/09/2018

Objectifs

Main technological objective

To optimize the performances of raw NR by gathering new knowledge to target new treatments before processing

Main scientific objectives

  • to set up methodologies to purify the main compartments of the fresh latex and to analyze their composition (proteins, lipids, polymers, etc)
  • to synthesize biomimetic copolymers protein-polyisoprene-phospholipid
  • to understand and model the organization of the main biochemical components on the rubber particle membrane
  • to identify the biochemical components and mechanisms involved in the structuration dynamics of the raw NR

Localisation

  • France : Bordeaux, Montpellier
  • Thailande : Bangkok, Chantaburi

Description

Natural Rubber (NR), a biopolymer produced from the latex of Hevea brasiliensis, exhibits very specific properties (low heat build-up, crystallization under strain, etc.) never mimicked by synthetic rubbers. NR is thus a highly strategic material for the production of tires or others items. However, NR presents important drawbacks: i) the rather non consistency or variability of its properties, ii) a structuration dynamics or “storage hardening” that is still not fully understood.

The RUBBex project aims to study and identify the main biochemical components (poly(cis-1,4-isoprene), proteins and lipids) and the mechanisms involved in the structuration of NR in order to optimize the performances of raw NR. The main objective of the RUBBex project is to generate new knowledge that will allow targeting new treatments before processing for a better control of the variability of NR properties and of the NR structuration dynamics with time.

A multidisciplinary and biomimetic approach will allow the study of this material from fresh rubber particles (organization, composition) to the raw NR (composition, structures, properties). The achievement of this multidisciplinary project relies on the complementarity of 6 partners (3 French academic laboratories, Michelin Company and 2 Thai academic laboratories). They will share their expertise in analytical chemistry, macromolecular chemistry, structural characterization, properties of materials, biochemistry, biophysics and spectroscopies.

Partenaires

Partner Laboratory Name Localization
IATE Ingénierie des Agropolymères et Technologie Emergente Montpellier
LCPO Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques Bordeaux
CBMN Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et Nanoobjets Bordeaux
Michelin Manufacture Française des Pneumatiques Michelin Clermont-Ferrand
Kasetsart U. Laboratory of Biochemistry and Technology of Natural Rubber Bangkok, Thailand
BIOTEC National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Bangkok, Thailand

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