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Advanced Characterization Methods to Analyze Rubber Compounds

SpeakerDr. Walter H. WaddellSenior Research

Associate, (ExxonMobil Chemical Company)

Date: Friday, 4th December 2015

Time: 9:00-11:00AM

Venue: Meeting Room 1313, Science &Technology



The pneumatic tire is a composite consisting of many rubbery components, and textile and steel materials.  Each individual component is optimized to perform a specific application, but after curing they all need to function as one composite. The factory preparation of these individual components is most essential.  Advanced analytical methods are used to (a) reverse engineer the individual components of competitor tires which then serve as a benchmark for continuous improvements, and also to (b) assist in the factory optimization processing of these materials.   


As a result of the government mandated labeling of tires for consumer applications in European countries in November 2012, the performance properties of the tread compound have become the most significant.  These properties are the rolling resistance, wet grip and noise generated.  In order to meet these new performance requirements, new materials are being developed, and efficient ways to process these ingredients in the factory are being studied.  Thus, laboratory analytical techniques that can characterize certain rubber compound properties to accurately predict in-service performance are also being developed.  Two groups of information are essential to optimizing the performance of the tire, namely the tread compound’s viscoelastic and the wear behavior.  Microscopic methods are being used to examine the morphology of the elastomer blends and the dispersion of the particulate filler additive used to reinforce the rubber.  Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) serve to provide essential information on tire tread compounds.

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