The Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology Award goes to Prof. Dr. Anke Blume (Faculty ET) of the University of Twente. She received this price as the first female researcher during an award ceremony in Cleveland / Ohio. The award goes to an individual who exhibits "exceptional technical competency by making significant and repeated contributions to rubber science and technology”. Her research is focused on developing safer and more sustainable tires.
The Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology Award was established in 1983, named after the developer of the Mooney Viscometer and other testing equipment. It is handed over once a year.
Prof. Dr. Blume received this award based on her contributions to the understanding of modern tire tread compounds. She has investigated the silica / silane-filled “green tire” tread compounds in-depth over the last 25 years. The gained knowledge supports the successful introduction of tailor-made silica / silane systems in the elastomeric matrix of the tread. With this technology, the reduction of the rolling resistance as well as the improvement of wet grip is possible without compromising the abrasion resistance. A reduced rolling resistance means a lower fuel consumption which is directly connected to a lower CO2 emission. An improved wet grip gives the driver a higher safety, it hopefully enables the driver to retain control on wet roads and reduces the breaking distance tremendously. Last but not least, a high abrasion resistance of the tire leads to a longer service life which contributes positively to a more sustainable product.
Prof. Dr. Blume has developed and characterized many different types of silica and silane. One of these products, ULTRASIL 7000 GR, is nowadays established world-wide in modern passenger car tire tread compounds. Furthermore, she has explored the processing of different silica / silane-filled rubber compounds, giving guidance to the rubber industry how to mix such demanding rubber compounds in the best possible way. For this it was required to understand the whole rubber compound as a complex interacting system. A lot of these interactions are understood nowadays, but more challenges are waiting.
“It goes without saying, that all the understanding, all the developments, can only result from teamwork. In the beginning, it was the great team of Degussa, later registered under the name Evonik. 10 years ago, I started as the head of the Elastomer Technology and Engineering (ETE) group of the University of Twente and worked with the wonderful team on these exciting topics.” Prof. Dr. Blume is very thankful for these collaborations and feels very honoured to have been selected for the Melvin Mooney award.