Lanxess: 80 years of zinc oxides - much more than a rubber additive

Zinc oxide, first manufactured at the Uerdingen Chemical Park, Germany, 80 years ago as a key additive for rubber production, it has developed into a popular specialty chemical with a broad spectrum of application: From applications in ceramics, various fields of electronics and home and personal care to specialty pharmaceutical and UV protection applications: Zinc oxide products are becoming increasingly important thanks to their special properties.

Lanxess produces Zinc Oxide Active and Zinc Oxide Transparent - the latter is more accurately a zinc carbonate - using a process combining precipitation and calcination rather than a classic roasting process used by many other manufacturers. This results in substantially larger specific surface areas (50 to 60 m2/g) and better grain size distribution. For many customers, the low concentration of heavy metal contaminants is another key argument in favor of the products.

Zinc oxide establishing itself in markets outside the rubber sector. Remarkable, considering that the production process has, in principle, changed little since its debut in 1931. At the world-scale plant in Uerdingen, the raw materials are elaborately purified, isolated as zinc carbonate in a wet chemical process and then heated in annealing furnaces to produce the final products. The process enables, to adjust the properties of their product and tailor them to the specific application.