The effects of highly dispersible silica and the nature of silane in a tire tread cap compound were studied with particular reference to dynamic mechanical properties, abrasion resistance, side force coefficient, and fatigue crack growth (FCG) properties. The rubber matrix chosen was a blend of solution grade styrene butadiene rubber and polybutadiene rubber. Six different loadings of silica were used. Bistriethoxysilylpropyltetrasulfide (S) was taken as the coupling agent. In addition, the potential of two new generation silanes, 3-octanoylthio-1-propyltriethoxysilane (N) and 3-mercaptopropyl-di [tridecan-1-oxy-13-penta ethyleneoxideethoxysilane] (V) was also explored at 70 phr silica loading. Optimum properties were obtained at 50 phr loading of silica (S50). The tensile moduli for the compounds increased sharply with silica loading. Higher values of tan δ, indicating higher hysteresis, were obtained in compounds containing higher filler dosage. However, enhanced abrasion resistance and side force coefficient were observed at higher loadings of silica due to an increased reinforcement phenomenon. The crack growth exponent (β) was lowest for S50. Among the silanes tested, V showed a 22% drop in tan δ at 70 °C, 11% drop in abrasion loss, and an increase in FCG rate. N exhibited a lower FCG rate as compared with the silane S.

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