Megatrend Mobility – Chances for Chemicals
The butyl rubber market is expected to grow on average by 5 percent in the coming years, with the main driving force being the megatrend mobility, above all in Asia. The tire industry accounts for around three-quarters of sales at Lanxess’ butyl rubber business unit and more than 50 percent of sales is generated in Asia.
For example, passenger cars in China and India alone are expected to more than triple within the next 15 years, mainly due to a growing middle-class there. In addition, there is a clear trend towards the use of radial or tubeless tires for buses and trucks in India and China, which is changing the face of commercial mobility. Modern radial tires require an inner liner made of halobutyl rubber, which helps keep tire pressure constant for longer because of its impermeability to gases, thus saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. “With our high-tech products, we are a leader in enabling ‘Green Mobility’,” said Heitmann.
A New Application for Bromobutyl in Tires
A new application for bromobutyl rubber, a type of halobutyl, is in the tread of tires. It enhances the characteristics of tires by improving both grip and the associated wet braking performance without compromising rolling resistance.
Another use for halobutyl rubber is in pharmaceutical closures. This special-purpose rubber is even required by law in some Asian countries, for example China. Some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical closure manufacturers are to be found in Asia. Pharmaceuticals account for some 10 percent of Lanxess butyl business.
Other applications for butyl rubber are protective clothing, shoe soles, adhesives and chewing gum. Its impermeability to gas and resistance to chemicals has also proven valuable in vehicle air conditioning systems and tank linings.
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