Chemosphere ( IF 5.778 ) Pub Date : 2020-11-20 , DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129033 Ricky Saputra; Rashmi Walvekar; Mohammad Khalid; Nabisab Mujawar Mubarak; Mika Sillanpää
Vulcanized rubber, due to its superior mechanical properties has long been used in various industries, especially automotive. The rubber industry has evolved and expanded over the years to meet the increasing global demands for tires. Today tires consist of about 19% natural rubber and 24% synthetic rubber, while plastic polymer and metal, filler and additives make up the rest. Over 1.6 billion new tires are produced annually and around 1 billion waste tires are generated. Tires are extensively designed with several complex processes to make them virtually indestructible. Since tire rubber does not decompose easily, their disposal at the end of service life creates a monumental environmental impact. However, waste tire rubber (WTR) consist of valuable rubber hydrocarbon, making its recovery or regeneration highly desirable. The conventional recovery method of WTR tends to produce undesirable products due to the destruction of the polymeric chain and exponentially degenerates the vulcanizates’ physical properties. Since then, multiple devulcanization processes were introduced to effectively and selectively cleave vulcanizate’s crosslinks while retaining the polymeric networks. Different devulcanization methods such as chemical, mechanical, irradiation, biological and their combinations that have been explored until now are reviewed here. Besides, an overview of the latest development of devulcanization by ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents are also described. While such devulcanization technique provides new sustainability pathway(s) for WTR, the generated devulcanizate also possesses comparable physical properties to that of virgin products. This further opens the possibility of novel circular economic opportunities worldwide.