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Home > Press > “Atomic Force Microscopy Can Help Expand the Tire Industry’s “Magic Triangle”

Asylum Research AFMs offer an exclusive “bimodal” imaging technology that easily distinguishes between components in rubber blends with higher resolution than conventional AFMs. Here, a tire rubber blend containing epoxidized natural rubber, polybutadiene rubber, and silica nanoparticles was imaged using bimodal AFM. The image reveals how the blend consists of a continuous phase of natural rubber (yellow/orange areas) containing isolated inclusions synthetic rubber (purple patches) and how the silica particles (black dots) are dispersed almost exclusively in the natural rubber.
Asylum Research AFMs offer an exclusive “bimodal” imaging technology that easily distinguishes between components in rubber blends with higher resolution than conventional AFMs. Here, a tire rubber blend containing epoxidized natural rubber, polybutadiene rubber, and silica nanoparticles was imaged using bimodal AFM. The image reveals how the blend consists of a continuous phase of natural rubber (yellow/orange areas) containing isolated inclusions synthetic rubber (purple patches) and how the silica particles (black dots) are dispersed almost exclusively in the natural rubber.

Abstract:
Automotive tires are expected to keep us safe by providing good traction, improve fuel efficiency by minimizing rolling resistance, and reduce economic and environmental costs by maximizing wear resistance. Unfortunately, improving performance in one of these areas is often found to degrade performance in one or both of the others. This conundrum has come to be known as the tire industry’s “Magic Triangle.” Understanding the nanostructure-performance relationships in complex rubber compounds is the most promising approach for developing next-generation tire tread materials.

“Atomic Force Microscopy Can Help Expand the Tire Industry’s “Magic Triangle”

Santa Barbara, CA | Posted on April 15th, 2020

The new application note presents how atomic force microscopy (AFM) can help develop this understanding of how the nanoscale distribution of components affects tire performance. Asylum Research AFMs offer unique capabilities that can not only examine the morphology of rubber blends but can also identify components, map their distribution, and measure their nanoscale mechanical properties. Examples in the application note demonstrate how AFM can readily and rapidly distinguish these materials in rubber formulations with nanometer-scale resolution. Of particular interest is how the various natural and synthetic rubber components associate with the carbon black and silica nanoparticles commonly used as fillers. Here, AFM can directly visualize the “bound rubber” fraction that tightly binds to the filler particles and even characterize how the particles modify the local mechanical properties of the rubber. No other technology can provide the same breadth of nanoscale insights for these materials.

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About Oxford Instruments Asylum Research
Oxford Instruments Asylum Research is the technology leader in atomic force microscopy for both materials and bioscience research. Asylum Research AFMs are widely used by both academic and industrial researchers for characterizing samples from diverse fields spanning material science, polymers, thin films, energy research, and biophysics. In addition to routine imaging of sample topography and roughness, Asylum Research AFMs also offer unmatched resolution and quantitative measurement capability for nanoelectrical, nanomechanical and electromechanical characterization. Recent advances have made these measurements far simpler and more automated for increased consistency and productivity. Its Cypher™, MFP-3D™, and Jupiter™ AFM product lines span a wide range of performance and budgets. Asylum Research also offers a comprehensive selection of AFM probes, accessories, and consumables. Sales, applications and service offices are located in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, France, India, China and Taiwan, with distributor offices in other global regions.



About Oxford Instruments plc

Oxford Instruments designs, supplies and supports high-technology tools and systems with a focus on research and industrial applications. Innovation has been the driving force behind Oxford Instruments' growth and success for 60 years, supporting its core purpose to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.



The first technology business to be spun out from Oxford University, Oxford Instruments is now a global company and is listed on the FTSE250 index of the London Stock Exchange (OXIG). Its strategy focuses on being a customer-centric, market-focused Group, understanding the technical and commercial challenges faced by its customers. Key market segments include Semiconductor & Communications, Advanced Materials, Healthcare & Life Science, and Quantum Technology.



Their portfolio includes a range of core technologies in areas such as low temperature and high magnetic field environments; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; X-ray, electron, laser and optical based metrology; atomic force microscopy; optical imaging; and advanced growth, deposition and etching.



Oxford Instruments is helping enable a greener economy, increased connectivity, improved health and leaps in scientific understanding. Their advanced products and services allow the world’s leading industrial companies and scientific research communities to image, analyse and manipulate materials down to the atomic and molecular level, helping to accelerate R&D, increase manufacturing productivity and make ground-breaking discoveries.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ben Ohler
Director of Marketing
805-696-6466

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