NSF awards $800,000 to ramp up production of eco-friendly, halogen-free rubber


Companies creating a certain synthetic rubber face a tradeoff. While halobutyl rubber is useful to the tire and healthcare industries, it carries a cost: Making it uses chlorine and bromine, both harmful gases. Recycling also is a problem because the harmful gases are released.

Now the National Science Foundation has awarded $800,000 to a University of Akron researcher so she can accelerate work on a new halogen-free material, made from renewable resources.

The researcher, Dr. Judit E. Puskas, has now raised $1.6 million for the project. That includes support from the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society and the Breast Cancer Innovation Foundation of Akron.

Applications for the new material include tire components, pharmaceutical stoppers and biomaterials. If successful, the new material will reduce the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process and produce improved, cost-effective thermoplastic biocompatible rubber.

“This funding will help push these new, eco-friendly materials to market,” says Puskas, the Joseph M. Gingo Chair in Chemical Engineering at UA. “The potential economic impact is significant as the research develops into commercial products.”

The halogen-free materials are based on the Allomatrix technology developed at UA and tested by the NSF Center for Tire Research (CenTire), an Industry and University Cooperative Research Program (I/UCRC) collaboration between UA and Virginia Tech.

The award follows a recent $749,747 also presented by the NSF to Puskas to further her creation of a polymer-based cancer-fighting drug.


Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or henryd@uakron.edu.


Dr. Judit Puskas

Dr. Judit E. Puskas