ABSTRACT

The dispersion of rubber fillers, such as silica, can be divided into two categories: macro- and micro-dispersion. Both dispersions are important; however, to achieve the best reinforcement of rubber, micro-dispersion of silica is crucial. The common view is that these filler dispersions are strongly related. The micro-dispersion is understood as the consequence of the continuous breakdown of filler clusters from macro-dispersion. Yet, a large problem is that an objective unequivocal direct measurement method for micro-dispersion is not available. In this study, a set of parameters is defined that are anticipated to have an influence on the micro- as well as the macro-dispersion. Mixing trials are performed with varying silanization temperature and time, different amounts of silane coupling agent, and by using silicas with different structures and specific surface areas. The degrees of micro- and macro-dispersion are evaluated by measuring the Payne effect as an indirect method for micro-dispersion and using a dispergrader for quantitative measurement of macro-dispersion. The results show that the filler dispersion processes happen simultaneously but independently. These results are supported by earlier work of Blume and Uhrlandt, who stated as well that micro- and macro-dispersion are independent. The major influencing factors on micro- and macro-dispersion of silica are also identified.

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