The most important Synthetic Rubber and the most widely used Rubber
in the entire world is SBR, a copolymer of styrene and Butadiene. The
hisory of developement of SBR could be traced of World War II, when the
first commercial production of SBR (called GR-S at that time) first
started. Butadiene and Styrene are the chief raw materials required to
manufacture SBR. Others required in small quantities are various
emulsifiers, modifiers, catalysts, short stops, coagulating agents,
antioxidants and antiozonants. While SBR is manufactured by both
emulsion and solution polymerisation methods, the more popular and
predominant grades are manufactured by emulsion polymerisation
Two types of processes have been used for the large scale production of
1) Those which use petroleum derived C4 hydro-carbons as the starting
2) Those which use Ethyl Alcohol as the starting material.
Processes of the first type fall into three broad classes :
(a) Those in which Butadiene is produced from n-Butanes.
(b) Those in which Butadiene is produced from n-Butanes.
(c) Those in which Butadiend is produced - directly by steam cracking of
Naphtha and gas-oil petroleum fractions.
1. Production of Butadiene from n-Butanes
The n-Butanes are obtained from C3-C4 stream from the cracking of
petroleum crudes. Propane and Iso-Butane are separated by fractionation
and Isobutane is removed by absorption in 65% - Sulphuric Acid. The
stream is then subjected to catalytic dehydrogenation using catalyst as
mixed calcium-nickel phosphate stabilised with chromum oxide.
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