CARBON BLACK DISPERSION MEASUREMENT IN RUBBER VULCANIZATES VIA INTERFEROMETRIC MICROSCOPY
Event:164th Technical Meeting Location: Cleveland, OH Date: October 14, 2003 Author: Archie P. Smith*, Toni L. Aybar, Ricky W. Magee, Charles R. Herd Paper Number: 16
A new method for characterizing the carbon black dispersion in rubber compounds is introduced. This technique is based on interferometric microscopy (IFM) and utilizes the interference fringes between in-phase light beams reflected from the rubber sample and a smooth reference surface to measure the three-dimensional surface topography. The peaks and valleys present are representative of the carbon black agglomerates and are used to characterize the dispersion. A series of samples with different base rubbers and varying dispersion levels were created and characterized by both light microscopy and IFM. These results were used to generate a universal dispersion index equation based on the IFM data that correlates well with the LM dispersion index values. In addition, three-dimensional peak statistics were obtained from the IFM data and used to provide additional information about the carbon black agglomerate distribution. This data can be used for a more complete understanding of the compound behavior as a function of the carbon black dispersion and agglomerate distribution.