News

News

2010-02-17

Rubber makes the world mobile

  • LANXESS special exhibition “100 years of synthetic rubber” at the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim
  • This fascinating material is indispensable in today’s mobile world
  • Synthetic elastomer was invented by German chemist Fritz Hofmann in 1909

Leverkusen/Sinsheim -

Life just wouldn’t be the same without synthetic rubber. It has revolutionized the world as we know it and is still keeping it moving today. That’s why LANXESS AG and the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim are devoting an exhibition to this elastic all-rounder. From February 18 to September 30 the exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the exciting history of synthetic rubber, using fascinating information panels and numerous exhibits such as the original sample of the first synthetically produced rubber and one of the first synthetic rubber tires. The areas of application for this material are extremely diverse, ranging from automotive engineering, the tire industry and energy generation to medicine, sports and aerospace – a further key focal point of the affiliated museums in Sinsheim and Speyer.

 

One million people visit the Sinsheim museum every year

 

The Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim is Europe’s largest private technology museum. Its exhibits include legends from the history of technology on a scale that is unique the world over. The hall space totals more than 30,000 square meters and is augmented by a large outdoor area. Whether classic cars adorned by gleaming chrome, legendary aircraft, racy sports cars, gigantic locomotives or spectacular record-breaking vehicles, the museum covers virtually all types of motorized transportation. Each year, around one million visitors from Germany and the rest of the world travel to Sinsheim to view the exhibition and its over 3,000 items. The two biggest attractions are displayed on the roof of the museum hall – a Concorde and a Tupolev 144 supersonic passenger aircraft in flight position that visitors are free to walk around. This museum in Sinsheim is the world’s only museum that showcases these unique, series production supersonic aircraft side by side.

 

“We’re delighted to be able to present the over 100 year history of this fascinating material, which is closely linked to LANXESS, at the renowned Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim,” says Werner Breuers, member of the LANXESS AG Board of Management. This specialty chemicals group, one of the global market leaders for synthetic high-performance rubbers, is successfully continuing the work of Fritz Hofmann, who was employed by Elberfelder Farbenfabriken when he developed his invention. “Synthetic rubber remains as cutting-edge today as it was in 1909,” adds Breuers. “However, now it is more widely available, environmentally friendly, versatile and specialized than ever before. As a technology leader in this sector, we will continue to develop our high-performance rubbers for innovative applications in the future.”

 

Cars and aircraft unthinkable without synthetic rubber

 

It would be impossible to drive a car or fly an aircraft had it not been for this very first process for making synthetic rubber, which was patented by German chemist Fritz Hofmann in 1909. Tires, V-belts, toothed belts, hoses, cable sheathing, seals for engines, doors, windows and trunk lids are all applications that have become indispensable for today’s mobile world and feature synthetic rubber. Yet tires are still probably the best-known application. They are the most visible example of the success story of this innovative material that has often done its work away from the public gaze. Around 70 percent of the rubber LANXESS produces is destined for car tire manufacture. This makes the specialty chemicals group one of the world’s largest suppliers of tire rubbers. It is also a pioneer of new developments in this field. Without these, modern, energy-efficient high-performance tires would be unthinkable. They are reliable and long-lasting and ensure low tire rolling resistance. Synthetic rubber therefore helps save fuel and cut CO2 emissions from vehicles.

 

Stable and reliable even under extreme conditions

 

The LANXESS portfolio comprises far in excess of 100 different grades of synthetic rubber, which are used in a whole range of applications. Chemists and technicians in LANXESS’ laboratories worldwide are committed to carrying Hofmann’s legacy into the future. In 1909, he could only guess at the significance of his invention for the modern world. His invention was initially intended as a direct substitute for natural rubber and as a means of counteracting the rising prices of rubber tree extract. But today, synthetic rubber is far more than a substitute. The engineering world uses a multitude of special-purpose rubbers for applications in all areas of daily life. Synthetic rubbers are used in all kinds of applications and remain reliable and stable even under extreme conditions.

 

An all-rounder in sports, the home and foodstuffs

 

Examples of applications can also be found in the maritime sector, including flame-retardant high-performance rubber for sheathing special cables in submarines and for wetsuits, water sports suits, rubber boots and waterproof ponchos. A wide variety of synthetic rubber products are also found in the home, such as rubber gloves and door seals for refrigerators, ovens and dishwashers. They can also be found as O-rings and valve seals in taps. Even the food industry can no longer survive without this elastic all-rounder – LANXESS supplies a special butyl rubber to produce chewing gum that retains its flavor longer than natural rubber.

 

The Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim at Museumsplatz in Sinsheim (Baden-Württemberg) is open to visitors from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 9 a.m. till 7 p.m. For further information, go to http://www.sinsheim.technik-museum.de/node/27

 

100 years of synthetic rubber – for interesting facts about the many different areas of application for this elastic all-rounder, go to www.worldrubberday.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 6.58 billion in 2008 and currently around 14,600 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 43 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

Information for editors:

All LANXESS news releases and their accompanying photos can be found at http://corporate.lanxess.de/en/media/press-releases/.  Recent photos of the Board of Management and other LANXESS image material are available at http://fotos.lanxess.de/index_en.html. The latest TV footage, audiofiles and podcasts can be found at http://corporate.lanxess.com/en/media/audio-video/

You can find further information concerning LANXESS chemistry in our WebMagazine at http://webmagazine.lanxess.com

Contact

Frank Grodzki

Frank Grodzki
Head of General Press and Trade & Technical Press

Phone: +49 221 8885 4043
Fax: +49 221 8885 4994