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History of FSUE «ISR»

Federal State Unitary Enterprise S.V. Lebedev Institute of synthetic rubber (previously named VNIISK) is a historical successor of the synthetic rubber laboratory established, according to the resolution of the National Economic Council of USSR dated September 15, 1928.

The scientists of the Institute among which there are three Lenin prize winners , sixteen state prize winners and eighteen laureates holding Academy of Science prize named after academician S.V. Lebedev made some fundamental discoveries which have enriched the home and world polymer science.

In 1910, S.V. Lebedev succeeded to produce synthetic rubber and butadiene for the first time. Ethyl alcohol, which was obtained from 1,3-butadiene (it could be easily found compared to isoprene) served as the raw material for synthetic rubber. Then using the polymerization reaction in the presence of metallic sodium was prepared the butadiene rubber.

In the fall of 1925 S.V. Lebedev and his team began working on the contest for the production of 2 kg of synthetic rubber, his efforts werea success, and the samples were sent to Moscow.

A process of synthetic rubber production developed by academician S.V. Lebedev made an impulse to a vigorous progress in investigations to perform a wide range of synthetic rubbers.

A synthetic analog to the natural rubber and polymers with properties lacking in natural rubber were obtained. These properties are as follows:

- benzine and oil resistance,

- heatresistance,

- highwear resistance,

- corrosion stability,

- gasimpermeability,

- high cold resistance etc.


Among these rubbers are:

- chloroprene rubbers,

- butadiene – acrylonitrile rubbers,

- butyl rubber,

- organosilicon elastomers,

- fluorinated rubbers,

- urethane elastomers,

- thiocol polysulfide rubber and others.

Emulsion polychloroprene rubberNairitwas made dew to unconventional work of institute scientists lead by A.Z. Klebansky. In 1940 a large plant producing this type of rubber was started at Erevan.

An important milestone in developing synthetic rubber industry was organization of styrene-butadiene rubber production by aqueous emulsion polymerization through radical mechanism.

Now emulsion styrene-butadienerubbers are widespread and cheap, and being produced at the following five plants:

- stock company «Voronezhsynthelastomer»,

- stock company «Synthelastomer»,

- «Toghliatti Elastomer Ltd.»,

- stock company «Omsk Rubber»,

- stock company «Krasnoyarsk SR» plant.

In the late 60s the process of oil – and benzine–resistant nitrile-butadiene rubber production was completed and their manufacturing was organized at Sumgait plant in 1959 and at Krasnoyarsk plant in 1961.

Within those years the production processes for a range of synthetic laticeswas developed:

  1. styrene butadiene,
  2. vinyl pyridine,
  3.  nitrile butadiene

In 1959 – 1962 manufacture of these latices was established at Voronezh, Togliatti and Sterlitamak plants.

Another important step wasa range of tests involved anionic polymerization of dienes what enabled structure first control to be made by modification of alkali metal nature and polymerization conditions.

In 1948 works on polymerization of Isoprene by using organolithium compounds started before the war were continuedled by A.A. Korotkov at FSUE “ISR”. Polyisoprenehaving 90 % 1,4 – unitswasobtained.

Zigler – Natta complex catalysts discovered in 1954 – 1955 gave a new impetus to large investigations of polymerization of 1,3 – diene hydrocarbons. Commercial production process of 1,4 – cis polyisoprene ( 96 – 98% 1,4 – cis) was developed on short notice , the first plants of isoprene rubber (SKI-3) Volzhsky and Kuybishevsky -were started up in 1964. Since 1970 SKI-3 production has been set up at Sterlitamak plant and a large scale production – at Nizhnekamsk plant. Their total capacity was 1 million tons.

Simultaneously with the synthesis of isoprene rubber a production process of 1,4 – cis polybutadiene (BR) was developed followed also by organization of commercial rubber production in 1964 at Efremov and Voronezh plants.

Realizing of stereospecific IR and BR rubber commercial production represented a great scientific and technological achievement of the Institute researchers.

In the 80s the development of catalytic polymerization systems of 1,3-diene-based rare-earth element compounds has began as well as a more advanced technology for the production of ecologically pure isoprene and butadiene rubbers, and a copolymer of butadiene and isoprene. Butadiene and Isoprene copolymers have outstanding dynamic properties and resistance to frost, has received good reviews from consumers (tire manufacturers).

In 2004, under the license of FSUE "ISR""Nizhnekamskneftekhim" started up the industrial production of neodymium-based polybutadiene rubber BR-N with the capacity 120 thousandtons/year.

On the basis of tests conducted at FSUE “ISR” a production of ethylene – propylene (EPM) and ethylene – propylene – diene (EPDM) rubbers was commercialized at Ufa plant In 1967 -1970.

Process technology of thiokols was developed at the Institute and their commercial production established at Kazan plant in 1958.

Synthesis methods and technological procedures for obtaining high– and low–molecular organosilicon rubbers were developed by the Institute scientists.Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) rubber production technique was implemented at Institute pilot plant 1950 and at Kazan plant in 1963.

Novel types of siloxane rubbers such as low–molecular (SKTN) and methylvinylsiloxane (SKTV) rubbers were realized at Kazan plant in 1964 – 1966.

Organosilicon rubbers offer excellent properties such as a large temperature range compared to other rubbers and biological inertness. At the same time rubber blends as well as siloxane rubber compounds and sealants were developed and their commercial production organized.

Outstanding techniques for radiation cure of siloxane rubbers were developed which, resulted in creation of high – thermo -stable self-adhering insulating tapes possessing high – temperature resistance , water stability , ozone -, corona – and chemical resistance.

Development of benzine – and oil – resistant fluorosiloxane rubbers capable to work at the temperature range from – 60 ◦C to 200 ◦C in air, vacuo, oils and fuels enabled to make thermo -, oil -, benzine – cold resistant materials. The process of fluoro – silicones production was implemented at pilot plant in 1967 and later at Kazan plant.

Development of synthesis procedures for fluorinated elastomers with outstanding corrosion resistance was a milestone on the way to modern technique.

In 1959 – 1962 was developed the production technology of polyesters and a novel type of high compounds – polyurethanes that were superior by wear resistance over all known polymeric materials and were first piloted at Institute.Polyesters and polyethers continuous processes were commercialized in Kazan in 1966, those for polyurethane rubbers SKU – 6, SKU – 7, SKU – 8 in 1968. Urethane thermoplastic elastomers in 1973.

At the same time a wide range of liquid polymers and their modificationswasdeveloped. In 1963 – 68 pilot scaled and commercial productions was started up for low – molecular rubbers SKN -18-1, SKN -26-1, SKDN, SKD – KTR at the Jaroslavl plant, for poly (divinyl – isoprene) PDI – 1 at Sterlitamak pilot plant.

These rubbers offer excellent cold resistance and elasticity, good insulating characteristics and moisture resistance, compatibility with general purpose rubbers and conventional fillers, as well as high bond strength to varios materials.Compounds based on liquid rubbers with hydroxy, isocianate, epoxyurethane end groups show excellent insulating characteristics.

In late sixties the implementation of theoretical and applied research works of Institute scientists resulted in building up a large industry of synthetic rubber. It was the world’s second largest by volume and produced almost the whole selection of all known types of rubbers and latexes (over 60 names).

In mid 80s USSR took the world’s leading position by total volume of synthetic rubber output.

Within the Institute working period 14 plants in the territory of former USSR started large scale production of synthetic rubbers and latexes. Great services were performed for the art by FSUE “ISR” personnel and, its director Dr. I.V. Garmonov who headed the Institute from its foundation till the eighties.

We would like tooffer you watching the film to let you know «how broadly rubber reaches out its hands into people’s deeds» (according to slightly changed words ofD.I.Mendeleev) and feel the environment the scientists of Synthetic Rubber Research Institute work and live in.