ABSTRACT

To improve the properties of silica-reinforced truck tire tread compounds, especially abrasion resistance, the effect of vinyl contents in butadiene rubber (BR) or solution styrene–butadiene rubber (SSBR) as secondary polymers in silica-filled natural rubber (NR) compounds at a ratio of 80/20 phr is investigated in the first part of this study. By increasing the levels of vinyl contents in BR in combination with NR, a better Payne effect, 300% modulus, reinforcement index, and tan delta at −20 and 0 ° C are obtained, whereas the tensile strength, elongation at break, and DIN abrasion resistance index decrease with increasing vinyl contents. Higher vinyl contents in SSBR result in improvements in Payne effect, 300% modulus, tan delta at −20 and 0 °C but only a small improvement in DIN abrasion resistance index. Combinations of secondary fillers and polymers in silica-filled NR are covered in the second part of present study. Silica/carbon black–filled NR/BR and NR/SSBR, respectively, and silica/organoclay–filled NR/BR and NR/SSBR show positive effects on scorch time and optimum cure time, with only slight changes in Payne effect, tensile properties, tan delta at −20 and 0 ° C and DIN abrasion resistance as compared with compounds with carbon black N134. The use of organoclay results in an enhanced Payne effect and tan delta at 60 °C, indicative of reduced filler–filler networking and consequently a lower rolling resistance of tire tread compounds as compared with the compound without organoclay. The specific combination of a small amount of organoclay replacing the same amount of silica, together with some of the NR replaced by high-vinyl BR, promises a substantial overall boost in wet and ice traction, abrasion, and wear resistance as compared with straight NR/silica tire treads. This new observation helps to overcome one of the main shortcomings of NR/silica compounds: their generally low wear resistance.

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