Investigation of abiotic degradation of tire cryogrinds

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Thomas, Jomin
Moosavian, Seyed Kasra
Cutright, Teresa
Pugh, Coleen
Soucek, Mark D.

Thomas, J., S. K. Moosavian, T. Cutright, C. Pugh, and M. D. Soucek. 2022. "Investigation of Abiotic Degradation of Tire Cryogrinds." Polymer Degradation and Stability 195. doi:10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2021.109814.


The abundance of microplastics found in the environment is a major cause of concern. Tire tread particles containing additives such as curing accelerators and antioxidants, can be a major source of elastomer pollution in the environment. Such tire particles combined with road pavement particles are referred to as tire and road wear particles, TRWP. The environmental availability from parent elastomers and the release of additives in the process of abiotic degradation were evaluated using freeze-thaw, wet-dry and accelerated UV-weathering experiments. Acceleration factor determination tests were conducted to correlate UV-exposure to the natural aging in the environment. Freeze-thaw testing showed many additives such as diphenyl guanidine (DPG), benzothiazole sulfenamide (BTS) and para-phenylene diamine (6 PPD) as tetrahydrofuran leachates and BTS transformation products. Further, UV exposure equivalent to 1.5 yr., 3 yr. and 5 yr. aging resulted in the formation a combination of ketones and carboxylic acids for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), natural rubber (NR), and butadiene rubber-based tire cryogrinds. Attenuated total reflectance- Fourier- transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) was used to detect the degradation of the elastomers on UV-exposure while gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) was used as a nontargeted, suspect screening analysis technique. The degradation intermediates and leachates identified using GC-MS represents useful data for the life cycle analysis of the functional polymers and additives and their possibility of environmental release.

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