Flexsys Announces 6PPD Alternatives Cooperative Research & Development Agreement with USDA ARS
April 26, 2023
AKRON, Ohio. – Today, FLEXSYS AMERICA L.P. (FLEXSYS) announced the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between FLEXSYS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) to explore potential alternatives for 6-para-phenylene-diamine (6PPD). 6PPD is a widely used tire antidegradant that helps prevent breakdown and cracking of rubber compounds caused by exposure to oxygen, ozone and temperature fluctuations. Used extensively in tires, 6PPD protects passenger car, truck and bus, off-the-road and aviation tires from degradation and mechanical failure, which is vital for passenger safety.
“FLEXSYS is excited to collaborate with ARS on this program of global importance. We believe that by combining our efforts and expertise in the areas of fundamental chemistry, bio-based materials and applications testing, we can make more rapid progress towards developing a more sustainable alternative to 6PPD.” said Neil Smith, FLEXSYS Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer. “This is a daunting task and we are maximizing our efforts to bring the right scientists and researchers together to explore possible molecular structures to protect tires, people, and the environment — ultimately helping the tire industry to meet laudable future sustainability goals.”
With very little basic research having been performed in the past fifty years on 6PPD alternatives, there are no known, commercially viable replacements for 6PPD that exhibit equivalent or better passenger safety, tire performance and anti-degradation properties.
“While the problem of replacing 6PPD is challenging, it also represents an exciting opportunity to develop urgently needed biobased antidegradants for tires, creating products that are more sustainable throughout their lifetime. Our ARS Bioproducts Research team looks forward to applying computational and laboratory expertise in developing biobased and biodegradable chemicals to bring forward and test potential replacements for 6PPD.” said Colleen McMahan, a Research Chemist at the ARS Bioproduct Research Unit in Albany, California.
Developing an understanding of the basic science, the lab-level identification, synthesis and evaluation of possible alternative molecules to 6PPD is a herculean first phase in a long process of developing and commercializing a future replacement chemical.
Flexsys is the world’s leading producer of high-quality rubber chemicals and solutions, including Crystex™ vulcanizing agents, Santoflex™ antidegradants, and Duralink™ HTS post-vulcanization stabilizers. Flexsys operations span four continents, with eight manufacturing facilities and two technology centers.
The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in U.S. agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.