Re-Engineered Composite Systems LLC of Odessa, Texas, has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the University of Massachusetts to use the school's blending technology for grafting thermoplastic resins onto vulcanized rubber particles.
J. Wayne Rodrigue, president of the new recycling company, said he has a few firms lined up to use the materials, which will be trademarked RePoly. Some possible uses are gaskets and performance parts for appliances, under-the-hood components, air ducts and weather seals for autos, and grips for cutlery and toothbrushes.
The technology was developed at UMass Lowell by Joey Mead, Ross Stacer and Helen Liu, and the patent is pending. Mead said the process can manufacture pellets containing 80 percent recycled rubber. The team received research funding from the Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic Development in Chelsea, Mass. UMass will receive royalties on each product sold.
The technology was developed specifically to graft polypropylene onto ethylene propylene and styrene butadiene rubber, but other combinations are possible. Rodrigue said the technology can make plastic and rubber blends in one step with common melt-processing equipment.
RECS employs three. The firm has been in the planning stage for three years. ``We manufacture pellets for applications. There are a lot of applications,'' he said. ``We've made everything from pistol and golf cases to trash cans.''