VIPSeal going green - where there are dandelions there may be rubber!

Posted: Monday 9th November 2015

The R&D team at VIPSeal – the manufacturer of flexible couplings and adaptors used to joint and repair pipes – has recently had to field questions about dandelions. In particular, whether dandelions – or taraxacum to give it its scientific name - can be used to make rubber seals.

Peter O’Connor, VIP Technical Services Manager, explains: ‘There was a story in the news recently about scientists extracting rubber from dandelions which was picked up by some of our customers. It is true that tyre manufacturers are funding research into the potential for developing a dandelion whose taproots yields commercial quantities of latex. However, it is likely to be at least a decade before we see it as a potential raw material.’

Far more current are tests being undertaken by the VIPSeal R&D team into the potential of using recycled materials from used car tyres: ‘Car tyres are already being recycled for their steel, oil and textile content’ explains Jon Crean, VIPSeal’s Commercial Director. ‘The material that remains is processed and a product called carbon black is extracted. Carbon black is what makes many rubber products…black! We are currently investigating whether recycled carbon black has the quality and consistency which would allow it to be used as an alternative to virgin material. Initial findings are looking quite positive although it will be some time before recycled carbon black could potentially be used as all VIPSeal’s quality approvals and accreditations would need to be updated to accommodate it. Our primary focus will always be on maintaining our well-earned reputation as the manufacturer of the highest quality flexible couplings in the market.’

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April 2021

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