ERJ staff report (PR)
London - Fillers such as carbon black have been added to elastomers for more than 100 years to improve the qualities of the materials, but scientists are still working out how they work, notes a report in the latest issue of in the IoM3’s Materials World magazine.
Despite the global research efforts using advanced microscopy and modelling techniques such as ion-beam SEM and 3D TEM there is still no clear answer, said the report from a recent KTN Innovation with Elastomers event in the UK.
A solution might now be on the horizon, though, in the form of multi-scaled computer modelling, believes prof James Busfield, head of the soft matter research group at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and a leading expert in the field.
While the models have to date been inaccurate, Busfield said ‘I can imagine that will change in my working career’.
This view is apparently backed by tire makers who are pouring funds into various projects. These, said the report, include studies of chain breakage at the rubber/filler interface, rupture of filler clusters, and changes in electrical resistivity in carbon black under strain.