ABSTRACT

In recent years, solution styrene–butadiene rubber (SSBR), which has a narrow molecular weight distribution, controllable microstructure, and chain end functionality, is mainly used as base rubber for passenger car tire tread compounds. However, SSBR has a lower molecular weight than that of emulsion SBR (ESBR) because it is difficult to increase the molecular weight of SSBR. In contrast, ESBR can easily increase the molecular weight; however, it has a broad molecular weight distribution. The reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization technique is applicable to the emulsion polymerization. Polymers with narrow molecular weight distributions can be obtained by the RAFT polymerization because the RAFT agent prevents the coupling reaction of the growing chain radicals. In this case, ESBR having a narrow molecular weight distribution, which is an advantage of SSBR, and a high molecular weight, which is an advantage of ESBR, can be synthesized. Therefore, we synthesized RAFT ESBR and fabricated its compounds with silica filler. We confirmed that the physical properties of the RAFT ESBR silica compound are different from those of the ESBR silica compound. In addition to the narrow molecular weight distribution of the RAFT ESBR, the trithiocarbonyl group of the RAFT agent in the RAFT ESBR chain molecules affects the physical properties.

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