Kobe, Japan – Sumitomo Rubber Industries claims to have developed a technology for selectively observing and analysing tire rubber materials to new levels of detail.
The “ground-breaking technique” employs a special particle beam microscope developed by Japan’s Ibaraki University, according to a Sumitomo announcement.
Using the microscope, the group said it has succeeded in observing both 'coarse and fine' cross-linked areas of rubber “in vivid detail for the first time.”
The technology allows the selective observation of sulphur cross-link density at the nanometre scale, explained the statement issued 23 Jan
“Clear images,” it said, are generated “in which specific compound components, such as silica cross-links or other reinforcing agents, are each assigned specific colours.”
By contrast, conventional observation techniques, generally, only provide image data that shows an inextricable mixture of sulphur and other reinforcing agents,
“By allowing us to evaluate the very structures of tires themselves, this image data can be used to come up with internal structures for tires that will provide superior performance,” said Sumitomo.
The process creates “enormous potential” for future applications in materials development, the Japanese tire maker further stated.