A bio-based EPDM rubber will feature in the official ‘soccer' ball for the World Cup 2018, supplier of the material Arlanxeo has announced.
The Lanxess/Saudi Aramco JV said its Keltan Eco is being used in a sponge rubber layer underneath the outer cover of the Adidas ‘Telstar 18′ tournament ball.
The synthetic rubber “serves as a mouldable cushion for the ball and supports optimal bounce characteristics during games,” explained a 23 Nov Arlanxeo release.
Keltan Eco is claimed to be the world's first EPDM rubber made from ethylene extracted from sugarcane. Depending on ethylene-content, the proportion of bio-based material ranges between 50-70%.
Among other applications, Keltan Eco is said to be used in automotive body seals, window profiles and other sealing products, as well as in artificial turf and athletics tracks.
Keltan Eco 6950 – the type used by Adidas – has an amorphous structure and high cross-link density, which generally enhance low-temperature properties, while also improving elasticity and resilience.
The bio-EPDM also had to meet Adidas' strict requirements around density, hardness, weight and processability, said Arlanxeo.
“For us, ecological sustainability was a fundamental criterion in the selection of products for the World Cup soccer ball,” says Stefan Bichler, project manager of football operations at Adidas AG.
“We wanted to create the new soccer ball using high-tech materials that have impressive performance characteristics and are also sustainable,” added Bichler.