Published August 2013
Styrene-butadiene rubber is currently the largest volume synthetic rubber, which is produced by the copolymerization of styrene and butadiene by either the emulsion or solution process. Although the emulsion process is clearly the current capacity leader, the solution process has better future potential due to versatility and flexibility in imparting desired polymer structure. The current focus on high performance and "green" tires, as well as the current and upcoming government regulations regarding tire labeling, have contributed significantly to the increased popularity of the solution process.
In this PEP Report, we review the current technologies for solution processes for styrene-butadiene rubbers. The emphasis is on developments since the late 1990s, after the publication of our earlier PEP Review 1996-5 on this topic.
The process economics are developed in this PEP Report for producing 50,000 mt/year of SBR elastomer by commercial processes based on the patents of three companies.
While the processes are PEP's independent interpretation of the companies' patent literature and may not reflect in whole or in part the actual plant configuration, we do believe that they are sufficiently representative of the processes to estimate the plant economics within the range of accuracy for economic evaluations of the conceptual process designs.
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