Loughborough University
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Enhancing performance, durability and service life of industrial rubber products by silica and silane fillers

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posted on 2012-10-30, 13:52 authored by Li Wang
Typical rubber compounds used to manufacture industrial products such as tyres, hoses, conveyor belts, acoustics, shock pads, and engine mountings contain up to eight classes of chemical additives· including curing agents, accelerators, activators, processing aids, and antidegradants. The cure systems in these articles often consists of primary and secondary accelerators, primary and secondary activators, and elemental sulphur. Recent legislation impacting upon the working environment, safety and health has imposed a considerable burden on the manufacturers of rubber compounds to meet various obligations. The selection of raw materials and manufacturing processes that do not harm the environment is of great importance. A novel technique for preparing rubber formulations using crosslinking nanofillers such as silanised precipitated silica has been developed in this research. The silica surfaces were pre-treated with bis[3-triethoxysilylpropyl-] tetrasulphane coupling agent (TESPT).· TESPT is a sulphur containing bifunctional organosilane which chemically adheres silica to rubber and also prevents silica from interfering with the reaction mechanism of sulphur-cure systems. The tetrasulphane groups of the TESPT are rubber reactive and react in the presence of accelerator at elevated temperatures, i.e.140 -260°C, with or without elemental sulphur being present, to form crossIinks in rubbers containing chemically active double bonds for example styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (BR) .. SBR and BR rubber compounds containing 60 phr of TESPT pre-treated silica nanofiller were prepared. The silica particles were fully dispersed in the rubber, which was cured primarily by using sulphur in TESPT. The reaction between the tetrasulphane groups of TESPT and the rubbers was optimised by incorporating different accelerators and activators in the rubber. The mechanical properties of the rubber vulcanisates such as hardness, tear strength, tensile strength, elongation at break, stored' energy density at break, abrasion resistance, modulus and cyclic fatigue life were increased significantly when the treated silica filler was added. The need for the accelerator and activator was dependent on the composition of the rubber. Interestingly, the rubbers were fully cured without the use of elemental sulphur, secondary accelerator and secondary activator. As a result, a substantial reduction in the use of the curing chemicals was achieved without compromising the important properties of rubber compounds which are essential for maintaining long life and good performance of industrial rubber products in service. This approach has also helped to improve health and safety within the workplace and minimise harm to the enviromnent.Furthermore, a significant cost saving was achieved after reducing the number of curing chemicals in the rubber.


Avon VMS UK and Avon Automotive UK



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Materials


© Li Wang

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en