A high frequency viscoelasticity spectrometer, using the state-of-the-art ultrasonic technology, was constructed. The longitudinal and shear waves characteristics were measured in rubber compounds to obtain the attenuation coefficient, α, and sound velocity, v Preliminary results were obtained for a number of filled and unfilled polymers. The grade of carbon black used, filler loading, crosslinking density and filler dispersion were varied during the study. Temperature sweepS from −100°C to +60°C were also studied. It was found that the polymer type had a greater influence on α and v than did the grade of carbon black, loading or dispersion. The experimental data show that shear waves do not propagate in the rubbery state. Above the glass transition temperature, Tg, the longitudinal wave measurements could be sufficient to determine the high frequency dynamic properties of filled and unfilled polymers to characterize a tire tread compound. The temperature sweep measurements allowed the determination of the Tg of polymers at high frequency. It is proposed that the described method of measuring α and v be used as a laboratory tool for potential tire traction prediction.

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