This column is based on “Nitrile Rubber Production – Cost Analysis,” a report published by Intratec. It can be found at: www.intratec.us/analysis/nitrile-rubber-production-cost.
Nitrile rubber (NBR), also known as Buna-N, is a synthetic rubber copolymer of 1,3-butadiene and acrylonitrile. The material is resistant to various oils, fuels and chemicals, and is classified as a specialty rubber. NBR is primarily used in applications where good oil resistance is required, such as in rubber seals and O-rings, hose and belting stock, blowout preventers or packers (oil drilling). NBR is also used in molding miscellaneous parts, rubber latex products, sponge applications and footwear.
The process examined here is a typical continuous cold-emulsion process for producing NBR that contains 33 wt.% of acrylonitrile. The process (Figure 1) consists of three major sections: (1) polymerization, (2) purification and (3) finishing.
Figure 1. The diagram shows nitrile rubber production via emulsion polymerization[/caption]
Polymerization. Acrylonitrile and butadiene are mixed with an emulsifier agent, demineralized water and other chemicals to form the emulsion that will be fed to the polymerization reactors. Polymerization is…